Remarks to the Japan Economic Foundation Symposium, Wellington, 11 October 2010 by Malcolm Bailey, Board Member, Fonterra and NZIBF NZIBF – 11 October 2010

by | Oct 11, 2010 | Speeches

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It’s a pleasure to be with you today and to bring greetings from the Chairman, Graeme Harrison, and Board of the New Zealand International Business Forum.

We are delighted to be able to support this important conference and congratulate the organisers, the Japan Economic Foundation and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.

The New Zealand International Business Forum brings together the larger players from among New Zealand’s international businesses and our peak business organisations.

My company, Fonterra Co-operative Group, as New Zealand’s largest exporter, is proud to belong to the International Business Forum.

We take a particular interest in initiatives to make international trade and investment, freer, fairer and more open.

We welcome the theme of this event “Seeking the optimum framework for Regional Economic Integration.”

To our mind the “optimum framework” would be one that leads to expanding trade and investment, to sustainable and inclusive economic growth and to new opportunities for the region’s businesses and citizens.

We are looking for a framework that actually leads to new business being done ? we are more interested in outcomes rather than debate, workable solutions rather than economic theories.

We believe that continuing attention must be given to finding a way to conclude the World Trade Organisation’s Doha Development Agenda.

But until then there are a number of avenues for fostering regional economic integration that can be pursued.

We are particularly pleased to see the development of the Trans Pacific Partnership as a possible template for region-wide integration.

Last week’s news that Malaysia is about to join the eight negotiating parties, and reports of growing interest on the part of Japan, are very welcome.

While we are doubtless still at the beginning of a complex negotiation, we are optimistic that TPP can become the 21st century agreement that we are all looking for.

To be an effective template TPP must remain true to its founding principles: comprehensiveness, high ambition, open to new parties and linking both sides of the Pacific as well as industrialised and developing economies.

TPP forms an important part of New Zealand’s trade strategy alongside our other ground-breaking FTAs with Australia, China and ASEAN.

2010 is a significant year in view of the deadline set by APEC”s Bogor goals for free and open trade and investment amongst APEC’s industrialised economies.

That makes the discussion at this conference all the more relevant and critical for the future of the region.

On behalf of the New Zealand International Business Forum I extend a warm welcome again to our friends from around the region and good wishes for the success of this gathering.

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