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US Announcement Is Welcome News, Says TLN

14 November 2002

PRESS RELEASE

US Announcement Is Welcome News, Says Trade Network

Trade Liberalisation Network Chairman, Brian Lynch, welcomed today's announcement by US Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, that the Bush Administration planned to approach Congress for its opinion on the merits of a free trade agreement with New Zealand. "This is real progress, and is a tribute to a lot of hard work by our Government and officials, and the lobbying New Zealand businesses have done with their US counterparts."

"Preliminary studies have already confirmed there is a compelling argument in favour of a US/NZ closer economic partnership", said Mr Lynch. "Both countries stand to gain from the substantial boost such a partnership would give to their bilateral trade."

"New Zealand exports to the US have been projected to rise by fifty per cent under a FTA. As well, we can be confident of a positive impact on innovation, entrepreneurship and investment, all of which would be consistent with the goal of lifting New Zealand's growth levels above the OECD average. A FTA with New Zealand would be a logical fit with the network of other bilateral and Asian regional trade partnerships the US has undertaken to negotiate."

Mr Lynch praised the strategic perspective which lay behind the US announcement. "Mr Zoellick and his colleagues have not become distracted from a longer-term assessment of the value of the New Zealand relationship. The announcement is also recognition of New Zealand's commitment to strengthening the rules-based global trading system."

Mr Lynch said a FTA with the USA was far from being a done deal. "Many hard yards lie ahead, we’re not yet on the launch platform. New Zealand business and especially the export sector have to accept they have an important part to play alongside Government in carrying the case to Congress."

ENDS

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