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Minister Disappointed By Business NZ Ignorance

Business NZ has revealed its ideological rigidity with its criticism of the New Zealand delegation at the World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said Business NZ did not serve its membership well when it abandons informed analysis and debate, in favour of reckless scaremongering.

"New Zealand was the first nation to raise publicly a formal link between labour standards and trade at this WTO meeting, but we are certainly not alone in promoting this concept. The response to our intervention indicated that a majority of countries do in fact support our position, but that it was clear that a consensus was unlikely to be achievable at this point in time.

"Many countries here are comfortable linking the WTO and the International Labour Organisation, but recognise that, because of developing countries' fears of protectionism, the concept is unlikely to make immediate headway."

Mr Sutton said Anne Knowles was misinformed about the Government's trade and labour policy. It was definitely not about imposing compulsory labour standards on other countries, but about ensuring that the work of one international body was taken into account by other international organisations.

"It is unfortunate that such a business representative should claim to be all-knowing without first taking the simple precaution of familiarising herself with the readily-available facts of the case."

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