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US agriculture secretary to visit NZ

16 August 2005

US agriculture secretary to visit NZ

United States secretary of agriculture Mike Johanns is to visit New Zealand, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Johanns, the equivalent of agriculture minister in the Bush Administration Cabinet, will arrive in Auckland on Sunday (August 21) and leave again on Tuesday (August 23).

Mr Sutton said he was delighted to be able to welcome Mr Johanns to New Zealand.

"The visit will let Mr Johanns to get a close-up look at New Zealand's agriculture sector, particularly the dairy sector and the meat and wool sector, our biggest exports to the United States."

While here, Mr Johanns will visit two Waikato farms? a dairy farm, and a sheep and cattle farm? as well as visiting Dexcel's robotic milking processes.

He will lunch with Prime Minister Helen Clark and will also meet Opposition agriculture spokesman David Carter.

Mr Sutton said the United States was a world leader in agriculture, and played a hugely significant role in the World Trade Organisation negotiations.

"I will be interested to hear from Mr Johanns what the United States' perspective is on the current state of those negotiations and thoughts on a way forward.

"The US was our largest market for agricultural exports and second largest source of agricultural imports last year and I also look forward to discussing a range of bilateral issues."

Mr Johanns is the highest-ranking American official to visit New Zealand since the APEC meeting was held in Auckland in 1999.

ENDS


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