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Trade Minister To Attend WTO Ministerial In Seattl

MEDIA STATEMENT

26 November 1999

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TRADE MINISTER TO ATTEND WTO MINISTERIAL IN SEATTLE

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith departs New Zealand on Sunday 28 November 1999 to lead New Zealand’s delegation to the Third World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial in Seattle.

Dr Smith said that the Ministerial, which it is hoped will launch a new round of global trade negotiations, is the most important trade meeting for New Zealand since the conclusion of the Uruguay Round in 1994.

“The new round has the potential to deliver huge benefits to our exporters, particularly in the agriculture, services, fisheries, forestry and manufacturing sectors,” Dr Smith said.

“New Zealand’s primary objectives at Seattle are to ensure a clean launch of the new WTO round, the development of a sound framework for the mandated negotiations on agriculture, and progress on APEC’s Accelerated Tariff Liberalisation (ATL) package.

Dr Smith said that although the officials’ process in Geneva had not delivered a consensus on a declaration, it was important that Ministers worked together to achieve good outcomes at Seattle, particularly on agriculture and other difficult issues such as implementation of existing WTO rules.

Dr Smith will lead a delegation of officials, and representatives of New Zealand’s private sector to Seattle. Dr Smith will also be joined by Jim Sutton, who will represent the Labour Party at Seattle given the WTO meetings’ proximity to the New Zealand General Election.

“The WTO is an important body for New Zealand. The last round delivered benefits of over one billion dollars to New Zealand, and this next round has the potential to deliver even greater benefits for our exporters,” Dr Smith concluded.

Dr Smith returns to New Zealand on Monday, 6 December 1999.

ENDS

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