INDEPENDENT NEWS

Shock At Trade Decision

Published: Fri 17 Nov 2000 08:58 AM
Apparel & Textile Federation of New Zealand
New Zealand Footwear Industry Association
New Zealand Carpet Manufacturers Association
New Zealand Textile & Woolen Mills Association
Thursday, 16 November 2000
Footwear, Apparel and Textile Industries object to tariff removal for LLDC countries
The Footwear, Apparel and Textile Industries have expressed shock at Helen Clark’s decision to abolish tariffs on footwear clothing and other products imported from some underdeveloped countries.
They say that the decision flies in the face of Government policy to freeze tariffs at current levels to protect local industry and jobs. The decision has been made without consultation with industry and it comes on the back a free trade agreement with Singapore that exposes the industry to “backdoor” entry of duty free products from other Asian countries
The industry believes that the under-resourced New Zealand Customs agency will not be able to check or control such imports.
President of the New Zealand Footwear Industry Assoc, Clive Earl said; “No other country seeks to lead the world in ‘Free Trade’ and Labour roundly criticised National when it took similar actions.
“Cutting a figure on the world stage may gratify our Prime Minister’s ambitions, but displays ignorance about the realities of world trade and an arrogance towards NZ manufacturers, workers and her own parties stated politics.”
He urged the Government to re-consider and let normal democratic process take place before implementing such important changes.
Apparel & Textile Federation CEO Paul Blomfield said “This is a shocking decision given the previously high standard of communication with the current Government. The industry will be holding back decisions on investment and jobs in light of this destabilising political decision.”
Further information please call:
John Clark, New Zealand Footwear Industry Assoc: ph: (09) 534 7172
Paul Blomfield, Apparel & Textile Federation: ph: 021 870 871
Some Background notes on the Governenment decision to freeze tariffs:
The Acting Minister of Commerce said at the Second Reading of the Tariff (Zero Duty removal) Amendment Bill in May this year that; “tariffs will be held at current levels until July 2005. The only exceptions will be tariff removal under mutually beneficial agreements with our trading partners”.
Judy Keall (Labour, Otaki) said in her speech at the first reading of the bill that: “This is the common-sense approach of tariff policies that the people were looking for at the last election. The new policies will give local industry time to adapt to ever-increasing competition, it will help industrial development with associated benefits for employment as manufacturers respond to the assistance provided by this bill.”
(ends)

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