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Labour’s Trade Policy Inconsistent With Cairns

Helen Clark’s support this morning for the use of government-subsidised export credits is inconsistent with New Zealand’s international commitments with important trading groups, such as the Cairns Group, the group of economies committed to liberalisation of trade in agriculture, according to Trade Minister Lockwood Smith.

“Helen Clark’s commitment to introduce Government-subsidised export credits is inconsistent with a move to eliminate the use of export subsidies and export credits supported by many of New Zealand’s key allies within international trade fora,” Dr Smith said.

“For example, the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters, which includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay, lists the elimination of Government-subsidised export credits as a key goal in the next World Trade Organisation negotiating round.

“National’s position on export credits is not, as Helen Clark claims, based on a purist commitment to an abstract ideological paradigm.

“The policy is based on pure pragmatism, in that we believe that Governments should not tax New Zealanders in order to underwrite export deals considered too risky by the private sector.

“Labour’s position on export credits will not be welcomed by many of our key allies on international trade work, and will put New Zealand offside with the Cairns Group, which we can ill afford in the lead-up to the first ever WTO negotiations on agriculture,” Dr Smith concluded.

ENDS

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