Hon Jenny Shipley, Prime Minister of New Zealand;Prime Minister
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Hon Jenny Shipley, held discussions today with His Excellency Dr Carlos Menem, President of the Argentine Republic across a broad range of international, regional and bilateral issues. Mrs Shipley warmly welcomed the President, his Ministers and the delegation of Argentinian business leaders, noting it was the first visit to NZ by the Head of State of the Argentine Republic. The Leaders agreed that this visit, taken together with the recent decision to establish Embassies in each other?s capitals, marked the beginning of a new phase in relations between their countries. More broadly, and looking towards the next century, it was a signal both of Argentina?s determination to broaden its contacts with the Asia Pacific region and also of NZ?s wish to build a more solid platform for engagement with the countries of South America.
The Prime Minister said that with the cementing in place of democratic values and economic reforms in Argentina over the course of the last decade, both countries approached international issues from a similar perspective and with interests that often converged.
The Multilateral Trading System (WTO):
The Leaders recalled the excellent cooperation Argentina and New Zealand had enjoyed during the Uruguay Round, within the framework of their common membership of the Cairns Group. The struggle to put the agriculture sector on an equal footing with industrial products and to establish a fairer and rules-based system for trade in agriculture had been, and remained, an historic goal of both countries, given Argentina?s and NZ?s great strengths in temperate climate agriculture.
Noting that their respective Ministers of Agriculture were simultaneously meeting in Sydney with all members of the Cairns Group, they agreed that cooperation in this area was of the highest priority to both countries. It was essential to build on the first modest steps taken towards reform of world agriculture in the Uruguay Round and to accelerate the process of reform. Both Leaders agreed to keep in close contact as they sought to build political momentum, at Head of Government level, towards a new comprehensive Round of Trade Negotiations in the WTO.
The United Nations System:
The Gulf: New Zealand and Argentina shared a deep concern about recent Iraqi efforts to frustrate the work of the United Nations Special Commission in eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programmes. Because of that concern, both countries demonstrated their commitment to international peace and security and their support for the United Nations by offering personnel to the Multinational Coalition in the Gulf. The diplomatic agreement brokered by the Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, was a welcome development and the Leaders urged Iraq to abide by and cooperate fully and unconditionally with the United Nations.
UN Security Council: The Leaders noted that, arising from their shared experiences and efforts on the Security Council in 1994, their countries had cooperated well in promoting greater transparency and democracy in its working methods.
The New Zealand Prime Minister welcomed Argentina?s decision to seek membership of the OECD. There were close linkages between the WTO and the OECD in the development of the international trade policy agenda. Given the strong convergence of views between Argentina and NZ on most trade issues, Mrs Shipley expressed confidence that Argentina?s eventual membership of the organisation would be of benefit to NZ. NZ would work closely with their Argentinian colleagues in Argentina?s bid for full membership.
The two leaders underlined the importance of continuing international action to protect the global environment and promote sustainable resource use and management. They welcomed the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and underlined the importance of follow-up work on mechanisms like emissions trading, due to be completed at the next Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC) hosted by Argentina in Buenos Aires in November. They noted the opportunities for practical cooperation and dialogue in global environmental matters, between Argentina and New Zealand and other temperate countries of the Southern Hemisphere, in the Valdivia Group which New Zealand will be coordinating this year.
The Prime Minister noted that President Menem was not only a founder of MERCOSUR, the regional grouping that united Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay in an important customs union, but was also MERCOSUR?s current chair. NZ, for its part, would assume the chair of APEC in 1999. The Leaders agreed that while pursuing both their countries? interests within these two key regional groupings, they would strive to ensure that these groupings would be guided by a vision of ?open regionalism? - building blocks for the creation of a fully open international trading system.
Both Leaders recognised the importance of developing regional trading arrangements as steps towards a more open international trading regime. The Australian and New Zealand Governments through CER and the Governments of the MERCOSUR countries were demonstrating the benefits of open trade and regional cooperation. Leaders therefore looked forward to further progress in the dialogue between CER and MERCOSUR.
The Dialogue, established in 1997, now had a work programme and information exchange in areas of trade facilitation. Leaders agreed that priority should be given to ways of formalising the Dialogue, continuing the work on shared experience in trade facilitation, involving the two business communities more closely in the Dialogue, supporting common agendas for multilateral trade liberalisation, and investigating further the scope for bilateral and regional contributions to that common goal in the context of a deeper and more ambitious dialogue between the CER and MERCOSUR partners.
The two Leaders noted the common views their Governments held with regard to Antarctica. Both countries are original parties to the Antarctic Treaty, have sovereign claims over the continent, their national territories are geographically close to Antarctica, and belong to the group of countries considered to be ?Antarctic gateways.? They have common as well as convergent views in relation to the protection of the Antarctic environment and its dependent and associated ecosystems.
Both Leaders expressed their concern about illegal and unregulated fishing for toothfish in the Southern Oceans and underlined the need to strengthen the mechanisms of the Convention for the conservation of Antarctic marine living resources (CCAMLR) in order to ensure compliance with the conservationist objectives contemplated therein.
The two Leaders agreed on a series of steps designed to promote bilateral ties between Argentina and New Zealand. The visit of the President had provided the impetus required to achieve a number of ?key outcomes? (annex A) in the fields of trade, civil aviation, treatment of visas, conservation, sport, cooperation in science, future political cooperation and a draft Agreement to promote and protect investment in each other?s countries.
The Leaders agreed that the rapid progress that had been achieved in a short space of time illustrated both the practical approach taken by both Governments to developing the bilateral relationship and the excellent atmosphere that characterised dealings between Argentinians and New Zealanders. With the greater political focus now realised through the President?s visit, they expressed confidence that the potential of the relationship would be more fully exploited in the future to the benefit of both countries.
BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP: KEY OUTCOMES
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA):
President Menem and Prime Minister Shipley noted the increasing prospects for investment in each other?s country. They considered that an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement between Argentina and New Zealand would provide the best possible basis for companies to invest with confidence in each other?s economy. They welcomed the substantial progress made towards concluding negotiations on such an Agreement. When concluded, this would provide a signal to all enterprises to look at the opportunities direct foreign investment provided.
The Prime Minister stated that her Government would exempt Argentinians from the requirement to hold a visa for short-term stays. For his part, the President noted this, and expressed the view that his Government would take a similar decision shortly. The Leaders expressed their confidence that these developments would considerably facilitate tourism, business and other people-to-people flows.
The Leaders noted that Argentina and NZ enjoyed good aviation links, with Argentina?s airline providing regular non-stop services to NZ. This had facilitated the two-way flow of people between the two countries and beyond.
The Leaders agreed that, consistent with the globalisation of trade in goods and services and in order to create further opportunities for airlinks to and beyond each country, officials should meet at a mutually convenient agreed time to consider air services issues of common current and future interest and to replace the existing air services agreement for the mutual benefit of each country?s consumers and business people. The Leaders agreed that NZ was well-placed geographically to be a hub between Latin America and SE Asia and hoped that the possibility of enhanced airlinks would further stimulate the two-way flow of trade in goods and services.
The Prime Minister welcomed the large delegation of private sector business people from Argentina which had accompanied the President. The efforts of the New Zealand business sector (through the business seminar and other opportunities arranged by the Chambers of Commerce, the Latin American Business Council, Manufacturers? Federation, Federated Farmers and Tradenz) to promote reciprocal business was warmly appreciated. Both Leaders agreed that this private sector commitment augured well for doing continuing business in the open deregulated economy which each country was developing. Leaders encouraged their respective business communities to take full advantage of these opportunities.
Cooperation in Sport:
The Leaders welcomed the fact that a Memorandum of Understanding had been agreed between the Hillary Commission and the Secretariat for Sports of Argentina to enhance links between the two countries in sports. They hoped that the visits of teams, coaches, exchanges of information on sports science and training programmes envisaged in the MOU would build personal contacts between many New Zealanders and Argentinians.
The two Leaders noted the scope for enhanced scientific and technological cooperation between the two countries, focusing in particular on areas where both countries had recognised scientific and economic strengths. They declared their commitment to enter into a Scientific and Technological Cooperation Agreement in the near future, and instructed officials to work towards having a text ready for signing by science and technology Ministers in October 1998.
National Parks Arrangement:
The two Leaders noted that New Zealand?s Department of Conservation and Argentina?s Administration of National Parks were interested in negotiating an interagency arrangement.
The Prime Minister and President agreed it was important to build contacts between their Ministers. In that context, they noted with satisfaction that:
the Foreign Ministers of both countries had agreed on the establishment of high level consultations between Argentina and New Zealand of the basis of which both parties would seek to develop their dialogue and cooperation on issues related to international policy;
the NZ Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade was likely to visit Argentina this year, not only to formally open the NZ Embassy, but to follow up on a range of the matters progressed during the President?s visit.
the NZ Minister of Research, Science and Technology would be visiting Argentina this year in order to advance the possibility of a framework agreement on scientific cooperation;
Areas Identified for Further Work:
In addition to the above areas where sufficient progress had been made in the preparations leading up to the President?s visit in order to reach agreed outcomes, the following areas were identified as deserving of further study by the two Governments:
Tourism Cooperation - Leaders agreed that both countries represented for each other, emerging new markets for tourist development, now that regular and more frequent air services were established. Building on the information exchange commenced within the framework of the CER/MERCOSUR Dialogue it was agreed that discussions at official level on tourism development within the South American and NZ/Australian region may be now be appropriate.
Education links - The Prime Minister and the President welcomed recent initiatives to develop university academic and student exchange programmes at tertiary level. The growing reputation of New Zealand as a cost effective centre for English language training was also noted. Many secondary schools too were developing closer links through the Sister Schools study programmes initiated under NZ?s ?Focus Latin America? Programme. Leaders agreed that these initiatives would lay the foundation for closer and better understanding in the future. Leaders asked officials to study further what was necessary to ensure that achievement through academic and professional qualifications obtained in each country could be assessed to encourage freer interchange of professional, business and academic personnel.
Cultural exchanges - Leaders noted the important role of cultural exchanges in enhancing people to people contacts and mutual understanding. They welcomed the recent development of interest by private and/or ethnic cultural groups from each country in participating in international festivals and privately sponsored or commercial entertainment tours. Officials and entrepreneurs from the cultural and entertainment industries were invited to consider carefully the opportunities provided in this rich and diverse field of people-to-people exchange.