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New Zealand's policies endorsed by APEC

New Zealand's exemplary progress towards achieving the APEC Bogor goals of free and open trade and investment have been affirmed by a peer review of New Zealand's Individual Action Plan by APEC economies, undertaken in Thailand this week, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said that every APEC economy is required to have an Individual Action Plan, which is updated each year. These plans are a record of the rules and procedures applying to trade at the border and behind.

"The peer review process holds each economy to account on progress towards simplifying the rules and making them transparent. Peer reviews give a opportunity for all APEC members to question the economy under review."

Mr Sutton said an independent report, prepared as background for the review by a Korean expert, concluded that New Zealand was one of the most open members of APEC and was well on the way to achieving the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment by 2010.

The APEC action plans measure progress with trade and investment liberalization over the period up to 2010 for developed economies in APEC and up to 2020 for developing economies. A big part of APEC's work involves streamlining the rules and procedures for trade and investment, in order to reduce red tape and other transaction costs for business: for example, simplifying customs procedures and business travel permits; harmonizing standards; and ensuring that trade rules such as those for biosecurity are firmly based on scientific requirements and not used as disguised means of import protection.

Mr Sutton said it was crucial the Bogor Goals be regarded as a collective commitment for all APEC members to liberalise for the benefit of all.

"From New Zealand's perspective, APEC provides a key forum, with members being some of our most important trading partners. It also provides strong backing for the WTO agenda as well as support for quality and consistency in the trade agreements being negotiated amongst member economies."

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