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Relations with the United States improving nicely

Media release – 30 August 2006

“Relations with the United States improving nicely”

The Executive Director of the New Zealand United States Council, Stephen Jacobi, says both New Zealand and United States Governments are making “conscious efforts” to build the relationship between the two countries.

Speaking to the Mount Maunganui Rotary Club, Stephen Jacobi said that this effort could be traced back to the US NZ Partnership Forum held in Washington last April and was the key to unlocking an eventual free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States.

“The take-home message in regard to a possible FTA with the US is simply this: this negotiation will be unlocked only when the Administration decides to lift New Zealand in the priority queue. The Administration will do that only when it judges the overall relationship with New Zealand to be of such significance, of such relevance to US interests, that it is willing to override the opposition of the agricultural lobby and the small size of our market.”

Mr Jacobi said the US Administration was re-evaluating the relationship with New Zealand.

“Faced with an increasingly unsecure world, the United States is in need of friends, particularly those who share its core values… In a world where the solutions to insecurity rely less on sophisticated high tech weapons systems or platforms but peacebuilders, police, border control, intelligence, finance, health and quarantine agencies, New Zealand assumes a greater importance to US interests”.

Mr Jacobi said both Governments needed to continue the work they have started and not be deterred by any “bumps in the road” along the way.

“There will inevitably be ups and downs because the relationship with the United States is so complex, because it touches on global issues about which we care deeply and because it is so enmeshed with our own domestic issues and policies. The important thing is that we stay on the road together”.

A copy of the full speech is available from info@nzuscouncil.com.


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