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Sutton: Gateway to America conference

Hon Jim Sutton Member of Parliament for Aoraki

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Trade Negotiations, Minister for Biosecurity, and Associate Minister for Rural Affairs

Speech Notes

12 August 2005

Gateway to America conference,


Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to be here today.

The United States of America is not only the world's only superpower, it is the world's greatest economic superpower, the world's richest consumer market, and its greatest supplier of intellectual property.

I imagine there has been a lot of talk today about an FTA between the US and New Zealand - that's an important trade priority for this government and something that would benefit business in both countries. As Phil Goff explained this morning, we are going to keep working on getting into FTA negotiations with the US.

There are significant barriers to trade with the United States, particularly in the area of quotas. I've talked in the past of the quota on New Zealand chocolate - one kilo of normal chocolate a year and one kilo of low-fat chocolate a year.

The United States is a mature market, and I know our clothing industry and manufacturing sector see some significant potential there for a trade agreement.

At the same time it's worth reflecting that the really big returns - for both NZ and the US - will come from a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organisation's Doha Development Agenda negotiations. That's one of the key challenges - for the United States - but equally for New Zealand.

No single bilateral trade agreement
can match the potential opportunities for business that we get from global trade liberalisation. It is the equivalent of conducting bilateral negotiations with 147 other partners.

There are also things that we can address only through a multilateral agreement rather than bilaterally, such as the removal of export subsidies on agricultural produce.

It's pretty easy to see why the WTO negotiations are New Zealand's number one trade priority. A recent report showed that NZ gained $9 billion of GDP and 16,000 jobs as a result of the last round of WTO negotiations - the Uruguay Round.

The United States has an obvious and essential leadership role in the WTO negotiations and New Zealand is often a bridge builder. These complementary roles make for a very strong WTO relationship.

I know from discussions I've had with him that US Trade Representative Rob Portman is also committed to seeing progress made. I've also met with the new Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, and I will see him again when he comes to New Zealand in little over a week. He is a former governor of a farm state who is passionate on the need for free and fair trade in farm products.

Secretary Johanns visit will provide a very useful opportunity to talk about the state of the current WTO negotiations - in particular the agriculture negotiations. It's crucial that the big players show leadership over the coming months.

Thank you.


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