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NZ and Hong Kong announce trade talks
18 April 2001
NZ, Hong Kong get ball rolling
by John Armstrong
New Zealand and Hong Kong last night agreed to start formal negotiations on a free trade pact.
But unlike last year's Singapore agreement, the Hong Kong negotiations will also cover environmental and labour standards to mute domestic criticism in New Zealand of such trade pacts.
Along with industry groups, New Zealand trade unions will be consulted before the talks start.
The announcement that formal negotiations would begin followed last night's meeting between Prime Minister Helen Clark and Hong Kong's chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa.
A closer economic partnership agreement is expected to boost two-way trade in goods and services and increase bilateral investment.
New Zealand exports to Hong Kong last year totalled $772 million and imports were worth $171 million.
New Zealand Herald, Auckland