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Trade Minister Welcomes Lower Tariffs In Thailand

MEDIA STATEMENT
30 August 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TRADE MINISTER WELCOMES LOWER TARIFFS IN THAILAND

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith has welcomed reports that Thailand has reduced its import tariffs across a range of luxury and manufactured goods.

Dr Smith, who is in Argentina for a meeting of the Cairns Group, said that New Zealand exporters would benefit from Thailand's decision, which removed the 10% surcharge on 'luxury' goods, which particularly affected New Zealand exports of wine and wool.

The broad package of measures also reduced tariffs on:

· raw materials for cosmetics, pharmaceutical products and some foods (down to 1% from 30%);
· plywood and laminated woods (down to 20% from 60%);
· paper and paperboard (down to 10% from 35%);
· heat pumps and condensers (down to 3% from 60%);
· machinery for wood, paper and paperboard (down to 3% from 35%); and
· tower cranes (down to 3% from 30%).

"Thailand is an active member of APEC, and these tariff reductions accelerate progress toward the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment across the region by 2010 for developed economies, and 2020 for developing economies," Dr Smith said.

"Although tariff rates for New Zealand exports of agricultural products to Thailand remain high, these new measures are a welcome step, and show a promising trend for the future," Dr Smith concluded.

Thailand is New Zealand's 17th largest export market. In the year ended December 1998, New Zealand's exports to Thailand were worth $237,900,000.

ENDS

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