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PM Asks APEC Protesters To Consider Moral Argument

MEDIA STATEMENT

EMBARGOED UNTIL 7AM

Sunday 5 September 1999

Prime Minister Jenny Shipley encouraged anti-APEC protesters to consider the great benefits free trade offered those who were currently excluded from lucrative markets.

"APEC is not just an issue of economics - it has a moral dimension as well.

"The fact is that some developed economies in APEC have less to gain in some areas than the developing economies.

"As protection is removed and access is opened, benefits will flow for all the countries in the region. Those currently excluded due to protection will then be included.

"The freeing-up of tariff regimes, as well as the trade facilitation moves that will go with it, have opened and will continue to open, markets for developing economies like never before.

"APEC is providing a real chance for developing economies to raise their living standards, and to lift millions of people out of poverty.

"As they get into markets that traditionally have been fully or partially closed to them, new opportunities emerge. Yes it means change, but it allows trade, not aid, to provide the solutions.

"As a developed economy New Zealand has a moral duty, I believe, to ensure that APEC stays on track, because it will not only assist us, but it will lead to an increase in the standards of living of our less developed neighbours.

"Trade delivers substantial opportunity for jobs and increased disposable income. Aid is a poor, short-term and far less adequate solution to the challenges the developing economies face.

"Sustainable jobs and wages are what people within the APEC economies seek. The Bogor goals of removal of all tariffs by 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies provides the opportunity for all APEC members to close the gap between the developed and developing economies.

"Leaders will meet in New Zealand this week and through co-operation we will find ways to make progress.

"Only by opening doors, can we unleash opportunities for everyone. So, in that sense, the wealthier economies have a moral obligation to the less wealthy economies, even though it often means change.

"I ask those who are critical of APEC and what it is doing, to reflect on this point. Those who are planning to protest should study the whole APEC process and the benefits it is bringing to all countries in our region more closely, before making up their minds," Mrs Shipley said.

ENDS

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