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NZ benefits from AUSFTA a smokescreen

NZ benefits from AUSFTA a smokescreen

Helen Clark’s claim that New Zealand will benefit from Australia’s free trade agreement with the United States is a smokescreen for her failure to secure an agreement, says National Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman Lockwood Smith.

Ms Clark said this week that New Zealand was ‘well placed to take advantage of any resulting economic growth’ from the agreement.

“The fact is, there are significant downsides already for New Zealand in that agreement,” says Dr Smith.

He released a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade analysis on implications of the free trade agreement, obtained under the Official Information Act, which says there is ‘likely to be some downside’ for New Zealand-based trans-Tasman companies.

It says:

There may be more investment in Australia, ‘at NZ’s expense’.

That ‘AUSFTA means that the competitiveness of some NZ exports to the US has declined relative to Australian exports’.

That there will be ‘some erosion of NZ’s preferential access in the Australian market’.

“Clearly, New Zealand is missing out because this Government has failed miserably to get anywhere near delivering our own trade deal.

“Let’s hope her ‘pull-aside’ by US President George Bush at this weekend’s Apec meeting will at least produce something positive – it was a total failure last year,” says Dr Smith

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