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Foreign Policy link to failed trade agreement

Hon Lockwood Smith MP National Party Trade Spokesman

08 October 2003

Foreign Policy link to failed trade agreement

National Party Trade spokesman, Lockwood Smith, says it's now clear Labour's poll driven foreign policy can take some of the blame for New Zealand's failure to win a free trade deal with the US.

"Helen Clark and her Ministers, Sutton and Goff, have consistently soothed New Zealanders' concerns about Australia getting a trade deal with the United States and New Zealand not.

"They've given the impression that while it may come after Australia, a New Zealand trade deal with the US will happen," says Dr Smith.

"But the US Ambassador's speech notes today make very clear the Prime Minister and her Ministers have not been up front on the matter.

"The speech notes categorically state that the US Government is not prepared to schedule bilateral trade negotiations at this time," says Dr Smith.

"Charles Swindells says 'difficult decisions will have to be made: compromises must be reached'

"The Ambassador's comments come hard on the heels of a rebuff for New Zealand at the recent WTO talks in Cancun, where the United States held a breakfast for friends of free trade and did not invite New Zealand.

"While diplomats must use courteous language, that rebuff in Cancun is a measure of the chasm that Helen Clark's Labour Government has allowed to develop between our two countries," concluded Dr Smith.

Ends

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