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Trade Liberalisation On APEC Agenda

MEDIA RELEASE

18 October 2001

Trade Liberalisation On APEC Agenda

APEC leaders must keep further trade liberalisation high on the agenda when they meet in Shanghai this week according to New Zealand Trade Liberalisation Network Executive Director Stephen Jacobi.

The Trade Liberalisation Network is a new organisation aiming to promote greater public understanding of and support for trade liberalisation.

"The international response to terrorism will be a major theme of the APEC meeting, said Mr Jacobi. This is an opportunity to discuss issues such as maintaining trade and the movement of goods and services in the face of heightened security and international economic uncertainty."

“It is important for New Zealand business that the APEC meeting’s response to current world insecurity promotes confidence and growth.

"This should include a strong call to launch a new round of trade negotiations in the WTO and action to re-energise the APEC trade and economic co-operation agenda.

Mr Jacobi said he had no doubt the Government appreciated the significance of the APEC meeting and the importance of a new round.

“There are some who advocate New Zealand’s withdrawal from organisations like the WTO and APEC. This is dangerous talk. New Zealand exporters depend on these institutions to expand and secure access to overseas markets.”

An Australian study by the Centre for International Economics to be released at APEC would demonstrate that globalisation had made a positive contribution to reducing poverty and global inequality. The very poorest countries now represent less than 8 percent of the world’s population compared with just over 45 percent in 1970.

"Progress is slow but by expanding developing countries’ access to developed markets, trade liberalisation has a key role to play alongside humanitarian relief, development assistance and positive economic policies. 'Let us trade' is what developing countries are saying – the world needs to listen to them”, concluded Mr Jacobi.

ENDS

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