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PM To Ensure Union Involvement In Apec

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today she would ensure the opinions of the union movement are feed into APEC discussions, despite the possibility that the conference on APEC, organised by the Council of Trade Unions (CTU) and Public Service Association (PSA), with the encouragement of Government, will not now go ahead.

Next week Mrs Shipley will meet with CTU President Ken Douglas and members of the Asia Pacific Labour Network (APLN).

"We will discuss New Zealand's approach to APEC as 1999 Chair, the goals of the Leaders' meeting, and take on board comments and perspectives from the union movement around the region," the Prime Minister said.

Others attending the meeting include Bill Jordon, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and Takashi Izumi, General Secretary of the Asia Pacific Regional Organisation.

"Responsible union organisations, like the CTU and the APLN, realise that we can not put our heads in the sand, and that opening up markets in the region will benefit their members in the long run, by breaking down trade barriers and creating jobs," Mrs Shipley said.

"New Zealand in particular due to our comparatively low tariff regime and efficient economy and business sector - can expect to gain much from increased open trade in the Asia Pacific region.

"I look forward to my discussions on APEC with Mr Douglas and his colleagues from the Asia Pacific region next week.

"As Chair of APEC, I will listen closely to their views and ensure they are represented at the Leaders' meeting in September," the Prime Minister said.

ENDS

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