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WTO Job A Great Honour For New Zealand

MEDIA STATEMENT

21 July 1999 (Santiago, Chile)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WTO JOB A GREAT HONOUR FOR NEW ZEALAND: TRADE MINISTER

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith today welcomed Mike Moore's appointment as the new Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

"In congratulating Mike Moore, let me endorse the words of the Prime Minister. Securing such an important international position is a great honour both for Mike Moore, and for New Zealand. I am sure his many friends in trade circles around the world will be very pleased for him. His appointment is the well deserved culmination of a sustained effort on Mike's part," Dr Smith said.

"The WTO plays a pivotal role in strengthening international trade, which in turn creates economic growth and jobs. I have no doubt that the WTO will find Mike Moore to be a strong and effective leader, sensitive to the interests of all its members," Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith said the General Council's decision to appoint Mr Moore and Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi of Thailand to serve consecutive three year terms was a positive end to what had been a very complex process of choosing between the two candidates.

"New Zealand is obviously delighted to have Mike Moore appointed Director General and this decision also means the WTO will have two highly capable and widely respected people at the helm for the next six years," Dr Smith said.

Dr Smith also recognised the role of the Thai Government in supporting the WTO initiative to pursue consecutive three year terms.

"New Zealand enjoys a warm relationship with Thailand, which can only grow closer, as Dr Supachai follows Mike Moore as Director General," he said.

"The WTO now faces a challenging period as it prepares for an important new round of trade negotiations beginning later this year. New Zealand has a keen interest in seeing this round make real progress on a number of key issues, particularly agriculture.

"Mike Moore now belongs to the WTO and its membership. From New Zealand's perspective, it will be reassuring to have an effective advocate of trade liberalisation at the WTO helm at such a time," Dr Smith concluded.

ENDS

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