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The TLN Assesses the PM's Europe Visit

How did she do? The TLN Assesses the PM's Europe Visit

Positive platitudes are great, but we also need action said TLN, Executive Director, Suse Reynolds in an assessment of the impact of PM's Europe visit on world trade liberalisation and the benefits it brings to New Zealanders.

"Both the Prime Minister and the Trade Negotiations Minister have done well in stirring up the laggards and reminding us that multilateral liberalisation is the only way to greater global prosperity," said Reynolds today.

A mid-term review of progress towards a 2005 WTO deadline for the Doha Development Agenda takes place at the Ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico in September.

Reynolds said this will be the real test of whether the PM managed to focus minds enough on the "main chance".

"WTO members will only soften hard line positions and allow progress at Cancun if the benefits look immediate and meaningful enough or if the prospect of much slower economic growth is the stark alternative," Reynolds believes.

The PM centred her attention on the former. That was the right thing to do, said Reynolds.

The big question is whether the 2005 deadline is realistic.

In Reynolds' opinion it's a huge challenge for negotiators. Nevertheless, she said, the Government must continue to push for it.

"But what the Government must not do is put conclusion of a minimal round ahead of significant liberalisation. Liberalisation that makes major inroads into subsidies and domestic support, opens markets and essentially puts money in New Zealanders' back pockets," Reynolds concluded.

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