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NZ Welcomes China's Accession To The WTO

PRESS RELEASE

11 November 2001

NEW ZEALAND WELCOMES CHINA'S ACCESSION TO THE WTO

Today's accession to the World Trade Organisation by China shows the benefits of WTO membership for New Zealand, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton, speaking from Doha, Qatar, at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting, said China's joining the WTO meant New Zealand exporters would save $55 million a year every year at current trade levels from now on because China had agreed to reduce tariffs on New Zealand products when it got WTO membership.

As part of its membership package, China had negotiated an agreement with New Zealand that included significant tariff reductions, improved access for several products, especially wool and forest products, and opened the door for more trade, he said.

New Zealand was the first country in the WTO to complete its accession negotiations with China.

Mr Sutton said China was a large country with huge influence on the world stage.

He said that China would have enormous importance for New Zealand in the future.

"China has a massive population that is moving quickly to educate itself and to improve its living standards. That means there will be a huge consumer market that will be interested in the sort of products New Zealand produces.

"I welcome China's accession to the WTO. With that accession today, the WTO is becoming a truly global organisation."

China's accession brings WTO membership to 143.

Mr Sutton said that the last time a world trade negotiations round was launched, in 1986, there were only 40 members.

"The rapid growth in the WTO's membership is a strong sign that most countries do see international trade as a route to their prosperity."

The Doha meeting began at 5.30pm on November 9 (3.30am November 10 NZ time) and was opened by the Emir of Qatar. It runs till November 13.


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