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Free Up Trade - New Zealanders Will Love It !

Monday 17 January 2003

Free Up Trade - New Zealanders Will Love It !

If you love clothes, you'll love what lowering barriers to imports has done for you, said Trade Liberalisation Network's, Executive Director, Suse Reynolds today.

"Compared to the mid-eighties, New Zealanders now spend $700 less a year on clothing. To put it another way - when tariffs were at their height buying clothes for the family took twice as much from the household budget as it does today."

"Many said that reducing tariff protection for domestic clothing manufacturers would decimate the industry. But in fact between 1986 and 2001 the value of our clothing exports has quadrupled from $41 million to $170 million," Reynolds stated.

"What's really exciting about those figures is that they reflect the tremendous increase in the quality of our clothing exports."

Deflecting criticism that imports destroy jobs, Reynolds noted that research shows a rising level of imports usually signals the creation of more jobs.

"Imports may displace some workers in non-competitive industries, but the overall level of employment is determined by monetary policy, labour market flexibility and other non-trade factors," Reynolds argued.

"Trade actually benefits an economy in the same way as technology. It causes resources to shift to more productive sectors and thereby raises overall living standards."


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