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NZ-US Council Welcomes Free Trade Signal From US

NZ-US Council Welcomes Free Trade Signal From US

New Zealand-United States Council Chairman, Fonterra Chief Executive Officer, Craig Norgate, today welcomed the clear signals from US Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick that the Bush administration will seek the views of Congress on a free trade agreement with New Zealand.

“It’s good news and reflects the hard work that has been put in to present New Zealand’s case. We’re on the agenda, which is a tremendous milestone. What we have to do now is keep putting our case forward so we keep moving up the agenda. There’s a lot of hard work yet to be done so we can’t afford to relax just yet.”

Mr Zoellick’s signal for New Zealand was included in the announcement that the US is initiating free trade agreement negotiations with Australia. He acknowledged the integrated nature of the Australian and New Zealand economies, as well as the argument that a free trade agreement between the US and New Zealand would complement those between the US and Australia and Singapore.

“It’s a positive signal,” said Mr Norgate, “and it is also important to note the comment that the US will continue to work closely with New Zealand in the WTO, APEC and bilaterally to promote common interests in trade.”

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