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NZ US Council Welcomes Additions To Trans Pac

NZ US Council Welcomes Australia And Peru’s Decisions To Join Trans Pac

The announcement that Australia and Peru intend to join the United States negotiating for membership of the Trans Pacific partnership is good news for New Zealand, says the NZ US Council.

"P4 is set to become P7", said NZ US Council Executive Director, Stephen Jacobi. "This means the Trans Pacific agreement is building critical mass which will make it even more attractive for the United States and bolsters its relevance as a potential model for further trade liberalisation in APEC."

Australia and Peru made the announcements at the APEC meeting in Lima where the focus has been squarely on how further opening of markets can contribute to addressing the current financial crisis. The Trans Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (P4 or Trans Pac) currently includes Brunei, Chile, Singapore and New Zealand. The US announced its decision to negotiate to become the agreement’s fifth member on 22 September 2008. Negotiations are scheduled to start in March 2009.

Mr Jacobi is in Lima for the APEC meetings and has been meeting with business representatives from Trans Pac countries to discuss how the negotiation can be supported.

"Our case with the United States always rested on the role that such an agreement could play as an incentive for wider trade liberalisation. Trans Pac now offers New Zealand not just an FTA with the United States but with Peru as well along with a viable template for a future Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.

“The strategy is already bearing fruit but there is still more work to do to prepare and complete the expanded agreement. Business will need to be actively involved in this process," concluded Mr Jacobi.

ENDS

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