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GATS Deadline - TLN Urges Government Forward

GATS Deadline - TLN Urges Government Forward

The scaremongering about the General Agreement on Trade in Services is regrettable and misguided, said Trade Liberalisation Network, Executive Director, Suse Reynolds today.

March 31 is the WTO deadline for countries' offers to liberalise services.

"Liberalising trade in services has the potential to deliver just as many benefits as liberalising trade in goods. New Zealand farmers earned an extra $11,500 more in 2000 because our agricultural products gained better access to Europe and North America in the last trade round," she said.

"Simply put, the GATS is about "letting more people do stuff - much less about how they do it". It won't mean a hundred hotels being built on the Heaphy Track and nor will it mean that foreign companies will be able to take away local councils rights to provide waste and water services.

"Letting more telecoms providers into the New Zealand market has meant that you can now make a phone call to your sister or brother in the UK and spend $8 to speak for two hours. Twenty years ago you would have had to book that phone call a week in advance and it would have cost you $80 to speak for five minutes," Reynolds pointed out.

"GATS has fantastic potential to provide New Zealanders with more opportunities to work overseas, provides a framework for better banking, telecommunications and postal services for us in New Zealand and it has the ability to create bigger markets for New Zealand produced CDs and software packages off shore," Reynolds concluded.

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