• Don McKinnon
Foreign Affairs and Trade

The World Trade Organisation Ministerial meeting offers New Zealand and other APEC members the opportunity to demonstrate how regional arrangements and the global trading system can work together, caretaker Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Don McKinnon, said today. Mr McKinnon is to lead the New Zealand delegation to the first Ministerial Conference of the WTO to be held in Singapore from 9-13 December.

Two weeks ago, at the APEC Ministerial meeting Mr McKinnon attended in Manila, a key item of discussion was how APEC members should prepare for this first WTO Ministerial meeting.

"APEC members trade vigorously throughout the world. That's why APEC places so much importance on the WTO. Both are concerned with trade liberalisation. They may approach it in different ways, but the end results help each body contribute to the actions of the other. APEC works towards a free trade goal, through actions each member takes in its own economy. On the other side of the coin, the WTO negotiates binding rules of trade that opens markets."

"The Christchurch meeting of APEC Trade Ministers in July provided a substantial contribution to preparations for this WTO Ministerial meeting. Those discussions, and some of the conclusions reached, provided a foundation I was able to build on in Manila. They provide a practical example of how APEC can work with the WTO and make a real contribution to its objectives."

"APEC works well because it has a clear sense of direction and knows what it wants to achieve. We want to see some of that same sense of direction and excitement about the future in the WTO discussions next week", Mr McKinnon said.