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FTA will come from stronger relationship with US

New Zealand United States Council

Media release – 9 May 2006

FTA will come from an even stronger relationship with the US

The Executive Director of the New Zealand United States Council, Stephen Jacobi, says a free trade agreement with the United States can only come from an even stronger relationship between the two countries.

Speaking to the Hawke’s Bay Branch of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs about last month’s US NZ Partnership Forum, Stephen Jacobi said that despite differences in view on some issues the two countries had developed a “close and profitable” relationship which could be further expanded.

“My view coming away from the Forum is that the outcomes and deliverables we seek can only come if we continue to work on the relationship at the broadest level.
These outcomes, including eventually a free trade agreement will arise from an even stronger sense of mutual value and from an appreciation on both sides that we matter to each other.”

Mr Jacobi welcomed positive comments about the relationship made in recent days to Australian media by US Assistant Secretary of State Chris Hill who was a speaker at the Forum. Mr Jacobi also quoted from a letter he had just received from US Ambassador Bill McCormick:

“The Partnership Forum was an opportunity to examine the filters through which we see one another … it was a chance for our two countries to begin to discover what kind of relationship we want going forward – competitive or co-operative, tactical or strategic, transactional or kindred, active or inactive. (The) conference sent a timely reminder to both governments that it is not just the deliverables that matter, it is the relationship”.

Mr Jacobi said the Partnership Forum had made a significant step forward in the direction of a relationship which was “sustained, respectful and predictable” but it marked only a beginning.

The event would be held again in 2007 in New Zealand and could become part of a new “architecture” for the relationship going forward.

A full copy of the address is available from info@nzuscouncil.com or on the Council’s website www.nzuscouncil.com.

Ends

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