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New Zealand To Play A Key Role In WTO Negotiations

Media release

18 February 2002

New Zealand To Play A Key Role In WTO Negotiations

New Zealand will play a key role in brokering agreement in the international trade negotiations launched by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Doha last November.

Trade Liberalisation Network Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said that the appointment of New Zealander Tim Groser to chair the committee negotiating new WTO rules on anti-dumping and subsidies would ensure that New Zealand was fully part of the action as the negotiation proceeded.

Tim Groser is New Zealand’s Ambassador to the WTO based in Geneva. His appointment was one of several agreed by WTO member countries on 15 February. The Negotiating Group on Rules has been established to conduct negotiations on the Anti-Dumping and Subsidies Agreements as provided for in the Doha Development Agenda. (Note: Anti-dumping measures are special import duties imposed when a company is found to have sold the product in the importing market at a price below the one it charges in the home market, thereby causing injury to domestic producers).

Mr Jacobi – who attended the Doha meeting - said both anti-dumping and subsidies issues were highly contentious. “Developing countries complain that anti-dumping shuts them out of developed country markets. Developed countries, especially the United States, see these measures as a key safeguard for domestic producers. Fisheries subsidies will also be included in the negotiation. New Zealand and others have fought hard for this while several large fishing nations, especially Japan and Korea, are opposed”.

The rules agenda should be of direct interest not only to business but to groups often critical of the WTO. “Groups campaigning for a better deal for the third world and environmentalists concerned about the impact of subsidies on fish stocks can welcome New Zealand’s special role in this negotiation”.

Mr Jacobi said Tim Groser’s appointment built on the work done by New Zealand officials at Doha and in the WTO generally. “To make progress the WTO relies on honest brokers like New Zealand. Since we have neither size nor a large cheque book we have to be active with ideas and expertise if world trade is to be made freer and fairer”, concluded Mr Jacobi.

For further information:
Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director, Cell 021 490 974

© Scoop Media

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