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Sutton To Visit Indonesia, Malaysia, And Singapore

Minister for Trade Negotiations Jim Sutton leaves New Zealand to visit three South East Asian countries today.

Mr Sutton is to visit Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Jakarta in Indonesia, and Singapore to discuss the prospect of linking the Australian and New Zealand CER trade agreement with the trade agreement of the 10 countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations.

Recommendations on whether to proceed with that concept are to be presented to trade ministers from Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia at a meeting in Chiang Mai in Thailand next month.

New Zealand Cabinet authority would be sought after consultation with business, labour, Maori, and other stakeholders, before any negotiations for such a trade agreement was begun.

In Kuala Lumpur, Mr Sutton will meet with Malaysian Trade and Industry minister Dato Seri Rafidah Aziz.

In Jakarta, he will meet with ASEAN secretary general Rodolfo C Severino Jr, Indonesian Trade and Industry minister Luhut Panjaitan, and Indonesian Agriculture Minister Bungaran Saragih.

In Singapore, Mr Sutton will meet with Singaporean Trade and Industry Minister George Yeo.

Mr Sutton said the Chiang Mai meeting was an important one for the Asia Pacific region and he wanted to discuss issues that could come up at the meeting with his ministerial colleagues beforehand.

Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore were important countries in the ASEAN group and he wanted to make sure New Zealand's views were understood in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, and that New Zealand understood their views.

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