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National’s Record On Trade Policy

Jim Sutton’s latest criticisms of National’s record on trade policy are little more than a joke, North Shore Member of Parliament Wayne Mapp said today.

In a statement released yesterday, Jim Sutton called National’s record on trade policy a “catalogue of failures”, using the EU’s decision to lock out our spreadable butter, the anti-dumping action against New Zealand kiwifruit and the US tariffs on lamb imports as evidence to back his claims.

“Jim Sutton has got to be joking,” Dr Mapp said. “Even secondary school students understand that the New Zealand Government can’t control trade barriers erected by foreign governments, and in each case Mr Sutton refers to, the National-led Government has taken firm, decisive action to defend New Zealand’s trade interests.

“By working with the US kiwifruit industry, we’ve now resolved the anti-dumping action. On spreadable butter, the European Commission saw it New Zealand’s way after we took them to the World Trade Organisation, and we’re now back into that market. We’ve taken the US to the WTO over lamb, and if we’re on the right side of the law, the US will have to reverse its decision.

In addition, in the last year alone the National-led Government has achieved:

 Getting APEC back on track;
 Access for New Zealand salmon exports to Australia;
 Access for New Zealand cherry exports to Korea;
 Access for New Zealand apple exports to India;
 Access for New Zealand kiwifruit exports to the US;
 An agreement to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore;
 An agreement to investigate a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore & Chile;
 An agreement to investigate a Free Trade Agreement with Australia and the Association of South East Asian Nations;
 The prospect of a Free Trade Agreement with the US, Australia, Chile & Singapore;

“Jim Sutton can’t seriously believe his own criticisms, because National’s record on trade policy is outstanding. Thanks to the good work of Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and Trade Minister Lockwood Smith, New Zealand is now better positioned on trade than at any other time since the UK joined the EC.
“The recent trade figures, especially for manufactured goods, speak volumes about the success of an open trade policy. Labour would put back the barriers which could only harm New Zealand’s trade interests.

“I’m not certain that New Zealand, let alone our trading partners, are ready for any more of Jim Sutton’s knee-jerk trade policies, such as his suggestion that US President Bill Clinton should stay away from APEC due to his decision to impose imports on lamb,” Dr Mapp concluded.

- ENDS -

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