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ASEAN FTA boosts farmers and exporters

Media Release
Embargoed Until 11:00pm
27 February 2009

ASEAN FTA boosts farmers and exporters

“The ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to be signed by New Zealand represents a massive opportunity for New Zealand’s farmers,” says Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

“This century will be the Asia-Pacific Century and New Zealand is in the right part of the world, exporting the right goods at the right time.

“ASEAN accounts for around 25 percent of all Fonterra exports worth around $2.2 billion with meat and wool exports worth around $197 million more.

“It’s the potential ASEAN represents which is exciting. In the year to January 2008, there was a whopping 77.8 percent rise in exports. Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore dominate taking more than 90 percent of all New Zealand exports into ASEAN.

“This FTA fits perfectly with negotiations the United States commenced last year to join the P4 with New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei.

“With moves announced last week to start negotiations with India on an FTA and with China already in the bag, it’s a sign that countries in the Asia Pacific region recognise the importance of free trade. Free trade is the only way to correct the current global financial crisis.

“If all FTA’s come to fruition, it will mean direct and indirect agreements with the four most populous nations on earth being China, India, the United States and Indonesia. That’s almost half of the planet’s population and much of the world’s economic activity.

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“These markets are unique and cultural awareness will be critical. Our exporters must study, learn and adapt to these markets if the full potential of these agreements is to be realised.

“New Zealand’s trump card is that we produce food of the highest order more efficiently than anyone else on the planet. That food is in demand for an ever expanding human race.

“Federated Farmers applauds the Hon. Phil Goff for his earlier work and the National Government for bringing this FTA home. Despite all the doom and gloom in the other sectors, it strategically sets New Zealand up for the long haul and farmers appreciate that,” Mr Nicolson concluded.


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