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Goff to attend ASEAN trade talks

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

21 August 2006
Media statement

Goff to attend ASEAN trade talks

Trade Minister Phil Goff leaves for Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to attend regional trade talks.

In addition to participating in consultations between the Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) and Closer Economic Relations (CER) economic Ministers, Mr Goff will hold discussions with his counterparts from around the region on how to revive the stalled WTO negotiations, as well as on initiatives focused on enhancing Asia Pacific-wide regional economic integration.

"These meetings will be the first opportunity since the suspension of the Doha negotiations for discussions among key regional WTO players on the way forward for the multilateral trade agenda.

"Kuala Lumpur will create the opportunity to discuss how we might encourage an early revival of the Doha talks.

"We will also have the opportunity to look at current regional economic integration initiatives. With Doha suspended for the present time countries will focus more closely on possible regional and bilateral agreements.

"While New Zealand's strategy has been to give priority to multilateral trade reform, we have also pursued other options to expand market access and will continue to do so.

"My Australian counterpart, Mark Vaile, and I will be discussing with our ASEAN counterparts how to best advance the ASEAN-Australia/New Zealand FTA negotiations currently under way.

"This FTA is one of our trade liberalisation objectives, and is important to our broader strategic involvement in the region. There is still a lot of work to do if the talks are to be successfully concluded next year." Mr Goff said.

Mr Goff will also be attending a meeting of trade ministers from the group of countries that make up the East Asia Summit – the ten ASEAN member countries plus China, Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.

"This is a significant emerging regional grouping in which New Zealand is keen to play an active role.

"The EAS brings together the huge Chinese and Indian economies and we will be looking at a proposal which has been floated for regional economic integration, involving the 16 countries. While achieving this is not imminent, the proposal obviously has considerable potential if and when it could be implemented," Mr Goff said.

While in Kuala Lumpur Mr Goff will also meet bilaterally with Malaysian counterparts to discuss trade cooperation between the two countries that will include meetings focused on agriculture and education cooperation.

ENDS

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