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Manufacturing summit needed before FTA

November 21, 2004

Manufacturing summit needed before China FTA is signed

The union that represents manufacturing workers is calling for a national summit on the future of manufacturing – and wants it before a China Free Trade Agreement is signed.

Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union national secretary Andrew Little said that he had already won support for the idea from several key manufacturers.

“Manufacturing is too important to our economy to let it be destroyed,” he said.

“A closer trading relationship with China offers New Zealand great opportunities, but there are also huge risks – especially from companies prepared to exploit China’s low-wage economy. We need to get together and decide what manufacturing is viable in New Zealand before we throw the open the doors to China.”

The prospect of a free-trade agreement with China was the major topic of debate at the EPMU’s national conference in Rotorua in July, with delegates issuing a call for labour representatives to be on the FTA negotiating panel.

Mr Little said that the union had raised the issue with the Government, and would be lobbying hard for a manufacturing summit to be held as soon as possible.

ENDS

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