Major Trade Breakthrough Close for NZ at APEC

  • Dr Lockwood Smith
International Trade

"A historic agreement is in reach," International Trade Minister Lockwood Smith said from the APEC meeting in Vancouver today (Friday Canadian time).

"We are working in Vancouver on a major package of sectoral trade liberalisation. We expect it to contain forestry and fish -- two sectors of the greatest significance to the New Zealand economy." APEC's work on these sectors, if it is confirmed, will lead to major benefits both for trade and the environment.

"We're not just talking about tariffs here but also about non-tariff barriers and the range of distorting subsidies which lead to the abuse of scarce resources.

"I expect ministers to sign off on this ambitious package tomorrow," Dr Smith said.

"Officials can then get on with the detailed work of implementation at once.

"We're close to a big win for New Zealand."