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NZ Singapore Free Trade Deal A "Bogor Blueprint"

By Selwyn Manning

Designed on the blueprint of CER, New Zealand and Singapore have sealed a free trade agreement.

The two economies are heralding the deal as “significant for both countries” and a leading example for other APEC countries to follow.

The Free Trade Agreement is the first to be explicitly written based on the APEC Bogor Goals calling for free trade between all APEC developed nations before 2010 and developing nations by 2020.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said last night that the agreement advances the trading relationship between the two countries and was made possible due to the history, and economic similarities Singapore and New Zealand.

The agreement he says “will strengthen bilateral ties and expand economic linkages. But above all, it will help accelerate the pace of trade liberalisation in the Asia Pacific,” Goh Chok Tong said.

The Singaporeans definitely wish to promote the Free Trade Agreement at APEC as a model for other economies to follow.

Unlike the New Zealand/Australia CER, the Singapore/New Zealand agreement is viewed as an open document – a trading house if you like – which other economies can join and participate within. Countries which are ready to embrace the Bogor Deals are welcome to join the FTA.

Goh Chok Tong said: “In particular, we hope that this FTA will catalyse APEC towards achieving the Bogor goals of free and open trade. The FTA will be open to participation by other economies.”

New Zealand is focussing on its own trade benefits attached to the deal. The New Zealand Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, said last night that the FTA opens the gates to trade expansion with with Singapore.

“The increased trade that flows between Singapore and New Zealand will benefit both countries where it matters – in more jobs and higher standards of living,” Mrs Shipley said.

There are already indications that the example of the Singapore deal may be widened. Yesterday Mrs Shipley met with the Chilean President in a bi-lateral meeting and agreed to commence a scoping study to evaluate whether a similar agreement to that with Singapore could be reached with Chile.

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