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Rules of origin regulations no hinderance, says NZ’s Goff

Bernama, Malaysia

Rules Of Origin Regulations No Hinderance, Says NZ’s Goff

By Kristy Inus

24 August 2006

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 (Bernama) — Asean’s plan to narrow the gap on rules of origin (ROO) regulations pose no hinderance to the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with New Zealand and Australia.

New Zealand’s Minister for Trade Negotiations Philip Bruce Goff when met after the bilateral talks with Asean Secretary General Ong Keng Yong on Thursday said that the matter had already been settled and no longer an issue.

"We did not talk about that in the discussion (just now), but I think we made quite considerable progress in terms of the Asean-CER (Closer Economic Relations) negotiations on the rules of origin (ROO).

"So I think it (the matter) has been concluded," he told Bernama.

Rules of Origin ensures that only goods that are produced or manufactured in a particular country or originates from a particluar country enjoys reduced duties in accordance with the ROO.

Goff will be attending the Asean Economic Ministers (AEM)-CER consultations together with Australian Minister of Trade Mark Vaile here tomorrow. The negotations between the three parties is expected to be concluded by next May.

Australia and New Zealand are negotiating the free-trade talk with Asean under the Asean-Australia/New Zealand CER.

Asean has plans to narrow the gap of ROO regulations with both countries to ensure mutual benefits under the FTA.

The progress of the FTA was also delayed before this due to the stand taken by New Zealand on environment and labour protection, and the stand on government procurement by Australia.

Asean is New Zealand’s fifth largest trading partner.