Turbulence hits NZ trade policy

New Zealand faces some "alarming" challenges in its bid to maintain and improve a rules-based multilateral approach to international trade, deputy secretary trade and economic Vangelis Vitalis says.

Mr Vitalis, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was commenting in a talk titled "New Zealand Trade Policy in Turbulent Times", at the University of Otago’s 53rd annual Foreign Policy School, in Dunedin yesterday.

The latest school is devoted to "Asia-Pacific Diplomacy in Transition: Ideas, Institutions and Issues".

Mr Vitalis said that world trade conditions had in some respects changed adversely since 1995, when there had been hopes  a rules-based approach to trade access, supported by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), would have growing effect, and that there would also be growing openness in international trade matters.

Although New Zealand was a strong supporter of the WTO, it had also been seeking reforms of the WTO, including a speeding-up of decision-making.

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