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Clark / Lagos talks strengthen ties

Clark / Lagos talks strengthen ties

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that a third round of talks aimed at forging a closer economic partnership between New Zealand, Chile and Singapore will be held in Santiago next month.

Helen Clark was speaking following a meeting with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos at the APEC summit in Santiago.

“This agreement, known as P3, will embody the vision I share with President Lagos of bilateral and regional cooperation. We have a common goal of working towards the removal of barriers to trade and economic interaction in the Asia Pacific region. P3 has a strategic vision that spans the region from Latin America and the South Pacific to South East Asia.”

Helen Clark said it was her hope that the P3 agreement could be finalised in the first half of next year.

“ I believe that bilateral trade in goods can be increased, but perhaps even more importantly this agreement would give a stimulus to trade in services and investment. The conclusion of a bilateral agreement for the avoidance of double taxation with Chile was another example of facilitating trade and investment.”

Helen Clark and President Lagos discussed a number of areas where the two countries were advancing common interests.

“Opportunities exist to work together to develop access to third markets for common products, particularly in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.”

The introduction of direct air services between Auckland and Santiago has helped to reduce the sense of distance, Helen Clark said.

“The Working Holiday Scheme with Chile, our first with a Latin American country, has been a real success. Since the scheme began operating in 2001, over 700 young Chileans have taken up the opportunity to spend time in New Zealand, and a smaller number of young New Zealanders have traveled to Chile.”

Helen Clark noted that New Zealand’s Latin America Strategy had supported other areas of interaction, such as the participation of a Chilean rugby coach in a NZ International Rugby Academy coaching course, acclaimed performances by opera singer Dame Malvina Major in Santiago in 2002 and 2004, and a successful visit by Rapa Nui (Easter Island) college students to two Maori schools.

“New Zealanders and Chileans are getting to know each other better and are finding out just how much we share in terms of culture, education, science, sport and links with the Pacific and between indigenous peoples. These connections are going from strength to strength each year,” Helen Clark said.

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