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Fonterra Welcomes ASEAN FTA Negotiations

Media Release
1 December 2004

FONTERRA WELCOMES ASEAN FTA NEGOTIATIONS

Fonterra Co-operative Group today welcomed the announcement that New Zealand and Australia will begin free trade negotiations with members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Director Government and Trade Philip Turner says the negotiations represent an opportunity for Fonterra to gain improved access to a growing market that consumes more than 25% of all dairy products exported from New Zealand.

"Having a free trade agreement in place could reduce the tariff burden and remove the element of uncertainty around duty rates that New Zealand and Australian exporters currently face."

Mr Turner says ASEAN member countries can potentially increase applied duty rates for non-ASEAN members thus impeding trade.

"We would hope that an agreement between New Zealand, Australia, and ASEAN countries would remove that risk."

Mr Turner says negotiations could also address the complex regulatory systems and food safety measures used by some ASEAN countries.

"There is also potential for New Zealand to use its world-class food safety standards to assist in improving regulatory frameworks within those borders."

-Ends-


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