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External accounts still weak - Labour

2000 web site"New Zealand's external accounts remain weak as imports continue to surge ahead of exports," said Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen today.

He was responding to the latest overseas merchandise trade data showing a deficit of $1.7 billion for the year ended July.

"The figures do show a small strengthening in the export position which is welcome. However the trend growth in imports is still running at more than twice the rate of the trend growth in exports.

"One of the biggest contributors to the export improvement is wood and wood articles. But much of this trade will be in the form of unprocessed logs which is commodity exporting at its most basic.

"New Zealand desperately needs an economic strategy to build and diversify the export sector and to encourage more value-added production. Labour in government will make that a top priority," Dr Cullen said.

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