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First Six Months Of Singapore Free Trade A Failure

Trade with Singapore has dramatically deteriorated since the Government's free trade agreement took effect in January, said the Green Party.

Statistics New Zealand figures for the six months to June reveal exports to Singapore are down 20 percent compared with the previous year imports are up 27 percent.

The trade balance for the six months was a deficit of $107.8 million.

The balance for the six months to June 2000, was a surplus of $11.4 million before the free trade agreement took effect.

"The Government's push for free trade with Singapore has got off to an appalling start," said Green Party co-leader Rod Donald.

"Instead of leading the way to an export led recovery, opening our borders has simply made us more import dependent.

"You have to wonder whether the big influx of imports represents goods which were illegally trans-shipped through Singapore to avoid paying tariffs.

"I will be fascinated to hear what excuses the apologists for free trade will come up with to justify this disaster," he said.


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