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NZ delegation leaves for WTO meeting in HK

NZ delegation leaves for WTO meeting in HK

The World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong next week had the potential to be of huge benefit to New Zealand, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton leaves on Sunday for Hong Kong to attend the WTO meeting, where he will head the New Zealand delegation of officials, industry representatives, and interest groups. The delegation also includes Trade Minister Phil Goff.

The WTO was the only place to address issues such as export subsidies of agricultural products and other trade barriers that affected New Zealand's trade, so next week's meeting was really important, Mr Sutton said.

"The last multilateral round of negotiations was worth about $10 billion to New Zealand over the 10-year implementation period, and the Doha Round has the potential to be even more valuable if significant barriers can be eliminated or reduced. The only place to achieve that is at the WTO."

Mr Sutton said a successful WTO round was the Government's top trade priority.

"We're putting a lot of effort into these negotiations. A successful outcome is of crucial importance to New Zealand, and the livelihoods of all New Zealanders.

"The negotiations have been disappointingly slow to date, but all members are well aware of the significance of next week's meeting, and I am hopeful that we will be able to continue the momentum towards a successful outcome, by the end of next year."

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