Government Boosts Funding For Exporters

  • Lockwood Smith

The Government has allocated $450,000 of funding over the coming budget year to help New Zealand exporters gain better access to overseas markets, Trade Minister Lockwood Smith announced during a speech to the National Party's Northern Divisional Conference today.

Dr Smith said that exporters are responsible for approximately 30 percent of New Zealand's economic activity, provide thousands of jobs, and earn foreign exchange that raises the living standards of all New Zealanders.

"This Government is totally committed to working with exporters to improve access to overseas markets," Dr Smith said.

"The funds, which will be formally announced in the budget, are allocated to support practical efforts to improve market access through the Trade Access Support Programme (TASP).

"As Trade Minister, exporters often tell me that they don't face a level playing field in offshore markets. Often, the problems lie 'behind the border', through discriminatory product standards, labelling requirements, qualification requirements and other government regulations or red tape.

"TASP is designed to help exporters to both major and new export markets, such as Latin America. The programme complements the efforts of the Government to liberalise world trade through the World Trade Organisation, APEC, CER and other bilateral initiatives.

"We've already funded a number of initiatives through TASP, including:

projects to overcome difficulties in the area of industrial or product standards;
projects to address quarantine or phytosanitary barriers in North Asian markets;
reassuring overseas markets of the quality of New Zealand agricultural, seafood and forestry exports;
research into the opportunities for exporters, and barriers they face, in areas such as services;
lobbying for further liberalisation of our export trade including agriculture;
Dr Smith said that exporters encountering barriers to trade should contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to alert them to the problem, and to discuss strategies to achieve improved market access, which may involve a project funded through the Trade Access Support Programme.