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World trade negotiations – come on politicians, be

Media Release - Wednesday 4 May

*World trade negotiations – come on politicians, be brave!*

New Zealanders with jobs in the export sector should be taking a close interest in talks taking place in Paris this week.

Suse Reynolds, Executive Director, Trade Liberalisation Network said while the export sector was the most directly affected, in fact all our livelihoods were at stake.

“With trade accounting for well over half New Zealand’s GDP, our wealth depends on access to international markets. We need the Doha Round to succeed,” she said.

“If some meaningful impetus is not generated at this meeting, the prospects for the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Round look grim indeed.

“It is vital politicians discussing the Round on the margins of the OECD meeting show political bravery, take some risks, make concessions and give the round the kick in the pants it needs,” Reynolds added.

Doha Round negotiators are still to agree on a range of frameworks which will provide the basis for further negotiations to open up the markets of the 148 countries which make up the WTO.

“These frameworks must be in place by the beginning of 2006 to allow at least a year for the nitty gritty market access negotiations. With the northern hemisphere summer holidays preventing much work during June and July and only four months after that before the Hong Kong Ministerial meeting in December, a concerted political push in the next week is desperately needed,” Reynolds declared.

ENDS

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