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Goff to Attend Trade Meetings in Cairns

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

18 September 2006

Goff to Attend Trade Meetings in Cairns

Trade Minister Phil Goff leaves for Cairns on Tuesday to attend the annual Closer Economic Relations (CER) trade and economic Ministers meeting and the Cairns Group 20th Anniversary Ministerial meeting, both meetings will be hosted by Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile.

“New Zealand’s closer economic relationship with Australia is the most extensive we have with any bilateral partner, and this is reflected in our trade, investment, deep business connections, people flows and the depth of government to government cooperation between us”, said Mr Goff.

"CER has been described by the WTO as the 'world’s most comprehensive, effective and mutually compatible free trade agreement'. It continues to be extraordinarily successful in improving trans-Tasman trade and investment links and in boosting the international competitiveness of both countries.

"At Cairns, Ministers will review progress across a broad agenda including business law coordination, mutual recognition, investment, rules of origin and biosecurity, including access for NZ apples.

"Following the CER meeting, I will attend the Cairns Group 20th Anniversary Ministerial meeting on 20 – 22 September. The Cairns Group is made up of 18 agricultural exporting countries who are pushing for an ambitious result in the current round of WTO negotiations. New Zealand is a founding member of the Cairns Group.

“I have been contacting a number of key Ministers and officials recently to discuss ways to get the negotiations back on track. The Cairns Group meeting will provide a further chance for discussion, in both the official meetings and in bilateral meetings in the margins”.

"In addition to the Cairns Group members, the meeting will also be attended by Susan Schwab, the United States Trade Representative, Mike Johanns, the United States Agriculture Secretary and WTO Director General, Pascal Lamy", said Mr Goff.

Cairns Group members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay.

ENDS

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