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Trade Talks Launched With Chile And Singapore

27 October 2002 Media Statement

Three-Way Trade Talks Launched With Chile And Singapore

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced the commencement of talks aimed at securing a three-way Closer Economic Partnership between New Zealand, Chile and Singapore.

Negotiations on the trilateral Closer Economic Partnership were announced at the tenth APEC leaders' economic meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico. Known as the 'Pacific Three', or P3, the negotiations aimed to conclude a three-way open trade agreement which spans the Pacific.

Helen Clark said the talks were a significant step in strengthening relations with Latin America, as outlined in the Latin America Strategy launched by the government last year.

"A principal objective of the Latin America strategy was to secure a CEP negotiation with Chile. These negotiations will also include our established CEP partner, Singapore.

"The P3 negotiations aim to build a bridge between Latin America, the Pacific and Asia. An agreement would open up opportunities for increased trade in goods and services, and for improved economic co-operation and investment. It would also provide a new strategic foothold in Latin America," Helen Clark said.

"A P3 agreement would help advance open trade goals and the three countries' shared objectives for the World Trade Organisation round.

"The leaders of New Zealand, Chile and Singapore agree that the CEP should be comprehensive. This agreement, like New Zealand's CER agreement with Australia and CEP with Singapore, will be a model for other agreements."

Helen Clark also released a discussion paper on the New Zealand-Chile bilateral trade and economic partnership. The paper outlines the reasons for, and benefits of, a CEP with Chile. It is available from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website www.mfat.govt.nz.

ENDS

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