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Submissions on proposed Thai CEP called for


Submissions on proposed Thai CEP called for

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton today released an information paper on the proposed Closer Economic Partnership between New Zealand and Thailand and invited business people and other interested parties to comment on the proposed agreement.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Thai counterpart Thaksin Shinawatra agreed at the APEC Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok in October that the two countries should conduct a joint CEP study and then enter into negotiations. The aim is to conclude negotiation of an agreement by November 2004 when APEC leaders meet again.

Mr Sutton said Thailand was a dynamic economy, the fastest growing in South East Asia, and an increasingly important regional hub.

"It also maintains high levels of protection on many products of interest to New Zealand exporters. Building closer economic linkages and liberalising trade with Thailand will open up valuable opportunities for New Zealand business and promote mutually beneficial relationships with Thai counterparts."

Submissions, comments and information on issues that exporters face in the Thai market will feed into the study process and assist with development of negotiating positions.

He encouraged New Zealanders with a stake in the economic relationship between New Zealand and Thailand to contribute their ideas and knowledge.

"The deadline for formal submissions is 12 March 2004. But of course this is only part of the ongoing engagement with stakeholders envisaged throughout the period of the joint study and the negotiations."

The discussion document is available on the MFAT website: www.mfat.govt.nz.

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