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Luxton Welcomes Japanese Counterpart

MEDIA RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE USE
30 AUGUST 1999

LUXTON WELCOMES JAPANESE COUNTERPART

The Japanese Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Shoichi Nakagawa is to visit New Zealand from 31 August to 1 September, Food and Fibre Minister John Luxton announced today.

"Japan is an important market for New Zealand's agriculture, forestry and fish exports. In 1998, New Zealand's agricultural trade to Japan was worth NZ$800 million. Japan is currently ranked as New Zealand's second largest export market for forestry products with trade worth NZ$552 million in 1998. In the same year, fishery exports were worth NZ$159 million," Mr Luxton said.

While in New Zealand, Mr Nakagawa's main meeting will be with Mr Luxton, during which the focus will be on Japan's and New Zealand's approaches to the next WTO round.

"New Zealand's approach to international trade in agriculture is quite clear. Eventually agricultural products should be traded under the same WTO rules as non-agricultural products. New Zealand sells agricultural products to Japan and buys non-agricultural products in return."

Changes to Japan's agricultural sector will also feature in the discussion as Japan is revising its Basic Agricultural Law - the first significant change since 1961. The thrust of these revisions is to move Japanese agriculture in a more market-oriented direction. Forestry and fisheries issues are also likely to be touched on, as will the lead up to next month's APEC Ministers/Leaders meetings.

"With respect to last week's ruling by the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue. I also look forward to Australia, New Zealand and Japan resuming negotiations with a view to reaching an agreement on measures for the consideration and management of Southern Bluefin Tuna."

While in New Zealand Mr Nakagawa will also be meeting with the Prime Minister, the Minister of International Trade, Dr the Hon Lockwood Smith and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Don McKinnon.

ENDS

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