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NZ and South American more or less neighbours

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health,
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education,
Minister Responsible for Public Trust

Progressive Leader

19th September 2006 Press release

New Zealand and South American more or less neighbours

Minister of Agriculture, Jim Anderton met with Luis Guedes Pinto, the Brazilian Minister of Agriculture to discuss bilateral and multilateral issues of agricultural interests before both Ministers go to Australia to attend the CER and Cairns Group meetings in Australia over the next two days. Jim Anderton said it was time to reinvent our economic relationship with countries like Brazil, Chile and Argentina which have traditionally been framed by competition between agricultural exporting nations.

"In my meetings with Minister Pinto, and on a recent trip to Chile meeting with the agriculture, foreign and economic ministers, I offered a new vision of working together for the benefit of us all. The concept was well received. The way I see it, we either compete in a race to the bottom with the developing world, or we develop cooperative relationships with these countries to bring their production into our own supply arrangements which, in turn, will bolster our leverage in foreign markets. Brazil is a WTO member in the powerful G6 group (with the EU, US, India, Japan and Australia) where decisions will be made affecting New Zealand's trade relations.

"Despite having an ocean between us, New Zealand and South America are more or less neighbours with more in common than much of the rest of the world. The Latin Americans are much like New Zealanders, warm, generous with a similar laid-back sense of humour," Jim Anderton said.

"If Fonterra and our agribusinesses are to grow to meet world market demand, we will have to work in partnership with other countries. Fonterra appears to be doing an excellent job of developing the skills, expertise and infrastructure in Chile, Argentina and Brazil to ensure this development is sustainable and supports New Zealand’s wider trading interests. New Zealand is, in many ways, only scratching the surface of Latin America’s potential.

Brazilian Minister Luis Guedes Pinto said there was growing interest in New Zealand by Brazilians and he was keen to work with New Zealand in a cooperative way.

"Brazil has a highly developed bio ethanol production industry where 40 per cent of fuel used in our cars is bio ethanol. In 2006, we will produce 17 billion litres of ethanol, of which 13.5 billion is used in internal consumption. This year, we will produce 800 million litres of bio diesel. We want to share our experiences of fuel production with New Zealand. The impact of producing and using this fuel is very positive on our economy and has generated new jobs, higher incomes and is much better for the environment," Luis Guedes Pinto said.

"My vision is for the agricultural producing nations of the Southern Hemisphere to join forces to take on the wealthy and emerging markets of the Northern Hemisphere, and work together to erode the trade barriers that subsidise Northern Hemisphere farming. We have a lot in common. New Zealand has one of the most efficient agricultural systems in the world and can help Brazil in the area of agri-research," Jim Anderton concluded.


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