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Hong Kong And New Zealand May Form Economic Ties

Mary Swire, Tax-news.com, Hong Kong

13 November 2000


New Zealand Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said he expected Hong Kong and New Zealand leaders to discuss closer economic ties at the APEC meeting next week, as part of a move to open up regional trading ties ahead of the next and much-delayed WTO round.

"I think that our successful negotiation with Singapore has stimulated interest throughout APEC and that, coupled with the widespread feeling of frustration at the lack of progress in Seattle and in getting the WTO round under way, has led to a renewed interest and many countries are now considering the possibility of moving into WTO and APEC compatible bilateral or plurilateral negotiations," he said.

Minister Sutton said last week that he was expecting a delegation of Hong Kong officials to visit New Zealand in November to discuss closer economic ties.

"On my instructions,' he said, 'New Zealand officials have briefed Hong Kong officials on the Singapore-New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership agreement, and are to hold exploratory discussions on the concept of a CEP between New Zealand and Hong Kong,"

Anson Chan, Hong Kong Chief Secretary, met Jim Sutton in Wellington during her brief trip to New Zealand and afterwards told reporters that while Hong Kong remained committed to a multilateral trading system, this did not exclude talks with New Zealand.

"We haven't yet had the exploratory talk so we will have to see where that brings us but it does not shake us from our resolve to move towards the multilateral trading system," she said.

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