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Trade Minister To Visit Papua New Guinea,Australia

MEDIA STATEMENT

9 August 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Trade Minister To Visit Papua New Guinea, Australia

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith departs New Zealand tomorrow to visit Papua New Guinea and Australia.

"In order to achieve its policy objectives for APEC '99, New Zealand has undertaken to visit all APEC member economies to build support across the broad spectrum of APEC's work," said Dr Smith.

"As the first New Zealand Minister to visit Port Moresby since the formation of the new Government, this is an important meeting for New Zealand's bilateral relationship with Papua New Guinea, and our work as APEC Chair.

During his visit to Port Moresby, Dr Smith will meet with Prime Minister Sir Mekere Morauta, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sir Michael Somare, Minister for Trade and Industry Hon Michael Nali and Leader of the Opposition Hon Bill Skate.

Dr Smith will use the visit to discuss the agenda and gauge Papua New Guinea's aims and objectives for the APEC Joint Ministerial Meeting and Leaders Meeting to be held in Auckland in September 1999.

On 12 August, Dr Smith will attend the annual CER Trade Ministers' Meeting in Canberra. This is the first meeting between Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile and Dr Smith, although the two Ministers met in Wellington in January 1999, during Mr Vaile's visit to New Zealand as Minister of Agriculture.

"As close neighbours and very good friends, New Zealand and Australia's Trade Ministers regularly discuss trade issues. But the annual CER Trade Ministers' Meeting provides an opportunity to sit down and assess our bilateral trade relationship, and discuss any issues of concern to either party," Dr Smith said.



"Overall, the CER trade relationship is in good health, and a number of issues, particularly regarding trade access and quarantine concerns, are likely to be less prominent in 1999 than in previous years," Dr Smith concluded.

"The agenda this year will include a preview of the APEC Joint Ministers' Meeting and Leaders' Meeting, and a discussion of our objectives for the World Trade Organisation meeting to be held in Seattle at the end of this year.

Dr Smith returns to New Zealand on Friday, 13 August 1999.

ENDS

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