TRADE MINISTER OPENS NEW MISSION IN GENEVA

  • Dr Lockwood Smith
International Trade

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith officially opened new offices today for the New Zealand Mission to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the United Nations in Geneva.

The dawn ceremony had a strong New Zealand flavour, including a formal Hiki Tapu performed by Kaumatua and Huia from Te Arawa. The ceremony was attended by Australian Trade minister Mark Vaile, WTO Director General Mike Moore and his wife Yvonne, Chairman of the WTO General Council Mchumo, and other invited guests from the diplomatic community.

Dr Smith is in Geneva en route to Lausanne for an informal meeting of 22 Trade Ministers, the core of which represents the 'Friends of the New Round' group of countries, which are working to ensure the successful launch of a new round of trade negotiations in the WTO. This Ministerial meeting is the final preparatory session for the Third WTO Ministerial in Seattle, which it is hoped will launch a new round of trade negotiations.

"A new round is very important for New Zealand, and my visit to Geneva and Lausanne is crucial to advance our interest in achieving better market access for agriculture, as well as industrials and trade in services, " Dr Smith said.

On arrival in Geneva, Dr Smith has had bilateral meetings with the new European Union Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy and WTO Director General Rt Hon. Mike Moore to discuss progress toward the Seattle Ministerial.

"Although there is broad support for the launch of a new round of trade negotiations, it is clear that we still have some way to go to build consensus on the scope of the agenda for Seattle." Dr Smith said.
"I had a very constructive discussion with Commissioner Lamy regarding the European Union's and New Zealand's objectives for a new round.

Commissioner Lamy demonstrated a real commitment to a round which could be concluded within three years, and I am looking forward to working with him to achieve this goal.

"Likewise, it was useful to meet with WTO Director General Mike Moore and gain his view of progress in the lead up to Seattle, " Dr Smith said.
Dr Smith departs Geneva for Lausanne this afternoon to join Ministerial colleagues from the Quad (The U.S, EU, Canada and Japan), leading developing economies including Brazil, Egypt and India, and other countries which, like New Zealand, support the launch of a new WTO negotiating round at Seattle.