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CER Trade Ministers To Meet In Christchurch

27 August 2002

CER Trade Ministers To Meet In Christchurch

New Zealand and Australian trade ministers will meet in Christchurch this week to hold their annual consultations, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Next year marked the 20th anniversary since the signing of the Closer Economic Relationship agreement between New Zealand and Australia, Mr Sutton said.

"This is the most comprehensive and mature trade agreement in the world, so it's appropriate that we mark the occasion with a celebration. Australian trade minister Mark Vaile and I will discuss what sort of events we want to hold during our meetings on Thursday and Friday.

"This is an important meeting, as New Zealand and Australia still have several bilateral issues to work through. Our economies are largely integrated through the Closer Economic Relationship trade agreement, but there are still outstanding issues in business law, mutual recognition of qualifications, food standards and the like.

"We also have several regional and multilateral issues to discuss. New Zealand and Australia work as a team in many areas, especially within the Cairns Group of agricultural exporting nations and the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum. So this annual meeting is a good chance for Mr Vaile and I to develop strategies."

Mr Sutton said another important dimension to the meeting was the involvement of the business community.

New Zealand has nominated the information and communication technology industry and Australia the dairy industry as industries for particular focus at this year's meeting.

A press conference with the two ministers is expected to be held at 2.40pm on Friday August 30 at the Millennium Hotel in Christchurch.

Ends


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