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New government kicks exporters in the teeth

The new Labour/Alliance government has fallen for tactics that are deliberately aimed at slowing down the freeing up of trade, says ACT rural spokesman Owen Jennings.

"The calls for involving green and labour issues in the WTO have been around for years, fostered by short-sighted unionists and anti-growth environmentalists. There has been a concerted attempt by anti-trade groups to use irrelevant topics to slow the changes vital to New Zealand exporters. The Americans and Europeans are happy to let these diversions frustrate the agenda," Mr Jennings said.

"Farmers and foresters will be angry to hear the new government siding with these protesters. The WTO is a trade organisation only. It does not have the mandate or ability to deal with other topics. In the same way the International Labour Organisation does not deal with trade issues.

"Helen Clark has jumped on a bandwagon that is simplistic and populist.

"Where is the proven evidence that freeing trade has harmed the environment or had a detrimental effect on workers' long-term interests? Freeing trade has had a beneficial effect on improving the way countries handle these issues.

"This is a sad day for New Zealand exporters looking for progress in this Seattle round to remove protectionism that is keeping farmers, foresters and fishermen and the country poor."


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