INDEPENDENT NEWS

Very Serious Trade Setback

Published: Thu 22 May 2003 10:41 AM
Very Serious Trade Setback
ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today the rejection of a New Zealand/US Free Trade Agreement is the most serious trade setback since Britain joined the EC.
"The trade nightmare is about to occur, Australia gets free trade access to America while this country is denied. The Treasury estimates that an Australian/US Free Trade Agreement will be very damaging.
"New Zealand manufacturers will be forced to relocate to Australia in order to obtain access to the valuable American market.
"There has been a major miscalculation by the Labour Government. Helen Clark in February set a New Zealand/US Free Trade Agreement as Labour's number one priority.
"We have been repeatedly assured that the agreement is achievable.
"Ministers like Phil Goff have continually claimed that the USA did not link foreign policy and defence with trade.
"Bob Zoellick, the US Trade Representative, gave us a reason why a US/New Zealand agreement would not proceed; America's disappointment with recent actions by the New Zealand Government.
"Reckless popularist criticism of the USA, UK and Australia by Helen Clark has made it impossible for any US administration to give priority to New Zealand's trade needs.
"Experienced MPs like myself and National's Lockwood-Smith have warned the Labour Government that Phil Goff and Helen Clark were making serious mistakes and their strategy would fail," Mr Prebble said.

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