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ASEAN-NZ FTA Sends Positive Signal During Slowdown

Media Release
27 February 2009

ASEAN FTA Signing will Send a Positive Signal in Economic Slowdown

The conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement between ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand comes at a critical time for New Zealand exporters facing the world economic slowdown, according to the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand-FTA is due to be signed by Trade Minister Tim Groser in Bangkok tomorrow New Zealand time.

Speaking from the Prime Minister’s Employment Summit in Auckland today, Chamber CEO Charles Finny, said growing New Zealand’s international markets is the key to job creation in the longer term and the new FTA will be an important platform from which to do that.

“Following on from the announcement earlier this week that India and New Zealand are to commence negotiations for a bilateral FTA, this sends a signal that free trade not protectionism is the best way to respond to the global economic crisis,” said Mr Finny.

“The ASEAN countries an increasingly important market for New Zealand exports and this agreement will further integrate New Zealand’s position in the region.

“We are pleased that the agreement includes services. This is an increasingly important sector for Wellington exporters and New Zealand as a whole.

“I would like to congratulate Mr Groser and his officials for their hard work and successful outcome,” Mr Finny concluded.

ENDS

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