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Bold attempt to make tariff waves welcomed

Bold attempt to make tariff waves welcomed

If the WTO is ever to make more progress towards free trade a small fish like New Zealand may as well make waves with a bold new approach than be sucked into the torpor of the world's big trading blocks, said Bruce Goldsworthy of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

Mr Goldsworthy, Manager of EMA's Manufacturing Services Division, was responding to Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton's new approach to reducing tariffs under the WTO announced last night.

"What we welcome about the new negotiating bid is the emphasis on reciprocal duty reductions," Mr Goldsworthy said.

"It means we cut our tariffs when another country agrees to cut theirs. In exchange for any possible loss of jobs and equipment here, we get better access to other nations' markets.

"For years under former governments New Zealand gave away all its bargaining chips for nothing.

"Currently over 90 per cent of all imports enter New Zealand tariff free but we are still far from achieving free trade.

"New Zealand is a small fish in the WTO but a move like this is worth a shot. It has the chance to make waves big enough to shake the big nation's out of their economic introspection. If achieved the gains would be substantial for everybody, especially the developing countries."

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