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Ministers welcome a quarter century of CER

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade
Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Commerce

27 March 2008 Media Statement

Ministers welcome a quarter century of CER

Trade Minister Phil Goff and Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel today acknowledged and welcomed the progress made in the 25 years since the Australia New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (ANZCERTA) was signed on 28 March 1983.

"The initial trade agreement has been expanded into a comprehensive set of trade and economic arrangements, collectively known as ‘CER’, which is still considered one of the most open trade and economic relationships between any two countries,” Phil Goff said.

“CER is regarded by the World Trade Organisation as the most comprehensive, effective and mutually compatible bilateral free trade agreement worldwide, and has led to significant trade growth between the two countries.

"Australia is New Zealand's largest market and New Zealand is Australia's sixth largest export market for goods and services, and largest market for elaborately transformed manufactured goods. Two-way trade exceeds $23.5 billion. In addition, businesses in both countries hold nearly $100 billion of investment stock on the opposite side of the Tasman. Australia is New Zealand’s top source and top destination of foreign investment.

"CER underpins and builds on strong historical, cultural, geographical and political ties, along with values and interests that both countries share,” Phil Goff said.

"Both governments have communicated a shared vision to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment, or Single Economic Market (SEM), to support our businesses in meeting the challenges of an increasingly competitive global environment.

“Work towards a SEM particularly under the Memorandum on Business Law Coordination will further strengthen the trans-Tasman relationship by reducing transaction costs and behind-the-border barriers to trade for businesses operating on both sides of the Tasman,” Phil Goff said.

Lianne Dalziel said that as a comprehensive, dynamic agreement, CER has adapted to changing requirements of business.

"The Australian and New Zealand economies are becoming increasingly integrated, not just through trade but also the high degree of regulatory co-ordination of the goods and services markets." Lianne Dalziel said.

"Since 1997, the Trans Tasman Mutual Recognition Agreement has played a central role in driving deeper levels of regulatory policy co-operation between the two countries, making it a valuable instrument of CER."

"On the 25th anniversary of CER, New Zealand looks forward to continuing to build on our strong relationship with Australia," Lianne Dalziel said.

Both ministers will attend a function and awards ceremony marking the economic partnership tonight in Auckland. The function, organised by the Trans-Tasman Business Circle, is to take place at Sky City.


ENDS

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