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PM visits Singapore, Vietnam &Thailand for APEC

13 October 2002 Media Statement

PM to visit Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand for APEC

Prime Minister Helen Clark is next week visiting Singapore and Vietnam en route to the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on 20 and 21 October.

In Singapore on 16 October she will meet Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and deliver an address to the Institute for Policy Studies.

Helen Clark said Singapore is a longstanding friend and important to New Zealand as an economic partner.

“In 2000 our two countries signed a landmark Closer Economic Partnership Agreement, on which we are now building through the ‘Pacific 3’ trilateral negotiations with Chile.

“Singapore is New Zealand’s largest South East Asian source of foreign investment and is taking an active interest in New Zealand’s innovative and creative industries.

“Singapore’s interest in becoming a South East Asian biotechnology and Information Communications Technology hub creates opportunities for future New Zealand and Singapore joint ventures.”

Helen Clark said her visit to Vietnam from 16 to 18 October will follow the visit by former Prime Minister Jim Bolger who opened the New Zealand Embassy in Hanoi 1995.

“Our relations with Vietnam are growing. Vietnam opened an embassy in Wellington earlier this year and Trade Minister Jim Sutton led a trade mission there in March.

“Vietnam today is an increasingly active and influential player in Asia. It is seeking WTO membership which will help its integration into the global economy. New Zealand supports Vietnam’s accession to the WTO, and is engaged in bilateral negotiations with Vietnam on future access for our goods and services. New Zealand also contributes development assistance for basic health and education.”

In Vietnam Helen Clark will meet Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan, senior government ministers, and party officials. New Zealand business activities will also feature in a brief visit to Ho Chi Minh City.

At the annual APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok, Helen Clark will address the CEO Summit and have bilateral meetings with a number of leaders.

“I will be talking to other leaders about how APEC can contribute to getting the WTO negotiations back on track. The breakdown at Cancun should also encourage APEC to focus back on the Bogor Goals to reduce tariff barriers within the APEC economies.

“Terrorism and the ongoing threat it poses to economic growth and prosperity in the region will also feature, as will the costs of counter-terrorism measures which are a particular concern of the export business community,” Helen Clark said.

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Phil Goff, and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton will attend the annual APEC Ministerial meeting before the leaders’ meeting.

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