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Government Reneges on APEC Trade Deal


Government Reneges on APEC Trade Deal

Import News from the Importers Institute of New Zealand 30 September 2003 - Government Reneges on APEC Trade Deal

The government of New Zealand has reneged on an APEC commitment to eliminate tariffs by 2010.

In the 1994 Bogor "Declaration of Common Resolve," all APEC governments agreed to achieve the goal of free and open trade and investment in the region no later than 2010 for the industrialised economies.

But today the government decided not to eliminate tariffs on clothing and shoes. Trade Minister Jim Sutton said there is "international uncertainty surrounding tariff liberalisation" in APEC. He also said that "the government is not prepared to move to a zero tariff regime at this time" and "will still retain some trade negotiating coin."

Daniel Silva, Secretary of the Importers Institute, condemned the decision. He said, "this talk of 'negotiating coins' amounts to much the same as saying that we will hold our breath until the faces of our larger trading partners turn blue."

Mr Silva added, "This government's trade policy (if it ever had one) is in tatters. It earlier failed to secure a trade agreement with Hong Kong to protect a handful of local clothing and shoe makers. Now, the decision to renege on an APEC commitment sends a clear message that New Zealand is closed for business."

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