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US-NZ talks ’outstanding success’ but no FTA move

National Business Review, New Zealand

US-NZ talks ’outstanding success’ but no FTA move

Next get-together in 2007

24 April 2006

The first ever US-NZ Partnership Forum, has been described as an "outstanding success" by its organizers, and will be repeated in New Zealand in 2007.

Trade and Defence Minister Phil Goff, Opposition Leader Don Brash, former Prime Ministers Mike Moore and Jim Bolger - and a group of high profile business leaders attended the forum which took place from 20-22 April.

Mr Goff met with Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, while Mr Brash was in contact with State Department Officials.

But despite the positive words from all sides, the forum failed to produce any solid indicators that the US government is willing to enter into negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement.

National leader Don Brash told Radio New Zealand that members of the Bush administration made it clear that there will be no free trade agreement unless New Zealand changes its position.

He says was also told other factors would influence the decision - including the fact that President Bush’s trade negotiating authority expires next year.