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Special agricultural trade envoy reappointed

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

20 May 2008


Special agricultural trade envoy reappointed

Trade Minister Phil Goff today announced the reappointment of Alistair Polson as New Zealand’s special agricultural trade envoy.

Mr Polson is a former President of Federated Farmers and has been New Zealand’s special agricultural trade envoy for two and a half years.

“The reappointment comes at an important time for New Zealand agriculture,” Phil Goff said.

“New Zealand is heavily engaged in regional and bilateral trade talks with large overseas markets including Korea, India and the Asean bloc. The USA has also shown strong interest in joining the P4 grouping of countries (New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei), and last week, Japan agreed to take part in a joint study into a possible Free Trade Agreement with New Zealand.

“Agriculture reform also remains a priority objective for New Zealand in the current round of multilateral negotiations in the World Trade Organisation.

“Stakeholders both in New Zealand and overseas have been overwhelmingly positive about the job Mr Polson has done.” Mr Goff said.

“Mr Polson’s role will continue to be to promote and defend New Zealand’s agricultural trading interests in key agricultural export markets, including the European Union, the United States, Latin America and Asia.

“The job includes meeting with international agricultural interest groups and encouraging foreign media to report New Zealand perspectives on agricultural trade to advance understanding of the benefits of agricultural trade liberalisation.

“Over the last eighteen months, Mr Polson has undertaken an intensive series of visits to key regions for New Zealand’s agricultural trade, including the Americas (Mexico, Brazil and Canada), North Asia (Japan, Korea and Taiwan), Pakistan, Australia and Europe (including Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Finland and the Baltic states). He also met with farm leaders of those countries which are members of the ‘Cairns Group’ of agricultural exporting countries.

“Mr Polson’s farming experience, past tenure as President of Federated Farmers and established networks both in New Zealand and overseas give him credibility and enable him to engage in dialogue at the grassroots level, especially among agricultural audiences,” Phil Goff said.

ENDS

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