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NZ removes tariffs on imports from the poorest

Embargoed until 1.30pm NZT, 16 November 2000 Media Statement

NZ removes tariffs on imports from the poorest countries in the world

From July 2001 all of the least developed countries of the world will have duty-free access to New Zealand for all their imports, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today at the APEC leaders’ meeting in Brunei.

“This is a significant move which demonstrates that international trade is not just about wealthy companies or well connected entrepreneurs,” Helen Clark said.

“We want to ensure that the world trade system has room for the poorest people from the poorest countries. The rich nations must ensure that the benefits of globalisation are available for everyone and this is a tangible contribution.

“Last year, after the failure of the trade talks at Seattle, WTO Director-General Mike Moore challenged the world to open up trade for the poorest countries. From the point of view, as they struggle with massive debt and huge development problems, the trade debates between rich nations can seem irrelevant.

“Too often, trade agreements have excluded the very poor. They have no negotiating leverage but have real needs.

“As Mike Moore pointed out, if those countries are ever to support another round of international trade negotiations they have to know that they will gain. The best approach is to give them the key straight away, and this move will do that.

“I will be announcing this move to leaders at the APEC retreat today, and I will call on them to join New Zealand in this approach.

“Between us we could make a real difference for millions of the poorest people of the world. They don’t just want our sympathy. They don’t just want our aid. They want a chance to participate in a fair and inclusive trading system,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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