• John Luxton
Commerce and Industry

The Government will consult widely with business and other interested parties over the path of tariff reduction from 2000 onwards, Minister of Commerce, Hon John Luxton, announced today.

The Minister's announcement follows a decision, announced in last month's Budget, to remove all remaining tariffs well before the year 2010.

A separate review is also being conducted on tariffs applying to motor vehicles and original equipment componentry as announced in the Budget.

The 1998 review will apply to all other products (including motor vehicle after-market components). The current programme of tariff reduction concludes on 1 July 2000. The 1998 review is to assist the Government in determining the most appropriate tariff reduction programme to adopt after that date.

"The key issue to be addressed in the 1998 Tariff Review will be the rate at which tariffs should be further reduced," Mr Luxton said.

The Minister said that issues to be considered are whether there are any reasons for different rates of tariff reduction for specific manufacturing sectors, and measures which might reduce costs and/or remove impediments to competitiveness.

"It is vital as a trading nation that we do all we can to remain internationally competitive. Reducing tariffs will assist in this.

"Initial submissions must be made by 31 October," Mr Luxton said.

"This will allow scope for officials to arrange subsequent meetings, as required, with individuals or groups of manufacturers and others with an interest in the issue."

The Minister said that the consultative process would have to be completed by the end of March 1998 to enable him to meet Cabinet's reporting deadline of 31 May 1998.