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Trade Network Rejects Green Scaremongering

10 April 2002

Trade Network Rejects Green Scaremongering About Us Trade Deal

The Green Party is over-reacting in its comments on a United States Government trade report which does not single out New Zealand.

Trade Liberalisation Network Chairman Brian Lynch said that the National Trade Estimate Report published by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) was an annual exercise. It was designed to show the Congress and the US business community that the US Administration could talk tough on trade. “Reading today’s release from the Green Party you’d think that this report was aimed at New Zealand. In fact it has chapters on over 50 US trading partners including fellow North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) members Canada and Mexico as well as Chile and Singapore with whom the US is currently negotiating free trade deals”.

Mr Lynch said some of the commentary on New Zealand was inaccurate. For example, he doubted the US could cite a single instance of an actual problem experienced with the Overseas Investment Commission’s approval of land investments. New Zealand exporters on the other hand could write “not just a chapter but a whole book” about trade barriers they faced in the US.

“That’s why the concept of a Closer Economic Partnership is so appealing. It would allow both sides to advance their objectives for eliminating trade barriers in the context of a properly constructed negotiation rather than by relying on brute force. New Zealand would not be forced into accepting the outcome– it should only do so if it is clearly in the national interest”.

Mr Lynch had no doubt that there were benefits to be gained from a negotiation with the US. Another recent report, prepared by the influential US think tank, the International Institute for Economics, found that under a free trade agreement exports to the United States would rise by between 51 and 49 percent. A trade deal could also be expected to foster investment and innovation. “That’s the sort of outcome we need if we are going to create new jobs, boost living standards and return New Zealand growth rates to above the OECD average” concluded Mr Lynch.


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