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Japan/NZ To reinvigorate trade economic relations

Japan and New Zealand seek to reinvigorate trade and economic relations

“Japan and New Zealand have established a working group to take a fresh look at the bilateral trade and economic relationship. This will be a forward-looking project to identify specific possibilities for building trade and investment”, says Trade Minister, Phil Goff.

“Japan is the world’s second largest economy. It is one of our most important regional friends and our third largest trading partner with two-way trade worth more than $7.3 billion.

“When the Prime Minister visited Japan last year, she and then Prime Minister Koizumi agreed on the need to reinvigorate trade and economic relations. They knew that as close partners we have to keep working hard to add value to our relationship. Since then both sides have focused on the need to identify improvements that will deliver benefits to our business communities."

“New Zealand would welcome starting negotiations for a trade agreement with Japan. To date that has been a step too far for Tokyo, principally because of their concerns about the strength of our agriculture sector. We want to demonstrate that our agriculture sector can work with Japan for shared benefit.”

“The working group process will allow both sides to set out their interests and concerns. I hope it will help set the scene for a better informed discussion about the possibility of a closer economic partnership: what it would mean and how any genuine sensitivities might be managed.”

“The working group is clearly an important step in the right direction, but we have a lot of work to do before decisions on specific initiatives can be taken."

The working group has a broad mandate, looking at all options for developing the relationship. The working group is expected to report to both governments before the end of 2007.


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