CHINA-US DEAL GOOD NEWS FOR NEW ZEALAND

  • Dr Lockwood Smith
International Trade

Agreement between China and the US on China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is excellent news for New Zealand farmers, manufacturers and service suppliers, according to Trade Minister Lockwood Smith.

"New Zealand was the first country to sign off on its bilateral agreement with China on accession, and has consistently supported China's accession in order to ensure that one of the world's largest and fastest growing economies is brought into the global trading system," Dr Smith said.

"Today's agreement will set a positive atmosphere at the Third WTO Ministerial meeting in Seattle, and once China is admitted, there will be rewards for New Zealand exporters through better access, higher returns, and more certainty and stablity through preventing the unilateral introduction of trade barriers that could disrupt trade.

"New Zealand's agreement with China two years ago established significant cost savings for exporters from the reduced tariffs covering 87% of our exports. These advantages will be further boosted when deeper tariff negotiations agreed by the US and other WTO members come into effect.

"Since I negotiated New Zealand's bilateral agreement in 1997, we have had a better framework for our wool exports to China. But there have been serious problems this year in getting access, and we have been working with China to resolve these issues.
"During APEC, I reached agreement to send a top level negotiating team, including wool industry representatives, to Beijing for talks with China's Chief WTO negotiator Long Yongtu.

"This delegation visited Beijing last week, and I am advised that we have found a mutually satisfactory solution for access to China's wool quota, which is a condition of New Zealand's bilateral agreement with China on WTO membership.

"I will be calling a senior official from the US Trade Representative this morning and shall write to Long Yongtu this week to convey New Zealand's congratulations on today's historic agreement," Dr Smith concluded.