Joint Statement of the 17th Annual NAFTA Conference of the NZMF and the CAI
The seventeenth meeting of the New Zealand Manufacturers' Federation and the Confederation of Australian Industry, at Hobart on September 28-30, endorsed the concept of a closer economic relationship between Australia and New Zealand based on providing equality of bilateral trading opportunity. The meeting agreed that the framework of issues being studies by Governments on both sides-and stemming from the Joint Prime Ministerial communique of March 19801-provided a satisfactory basis for negotiating a closer economic relationship. The consensus was that both Governments should make a decision on proceeding with a closer economic relationship and announce in the first quarter of 1981 the timing of its implementation.
The two bodies also noted with satisfaction the support for the concept by members of the rural, commerce, and retailing sectors present and from the Australia- New Zealand Businessmen's Council.
The meeting recognised that in the course of implementation of an agreed closer economic relationship, specific industries on both sides of the Tasman may wish to become involved in industry-to-industry consultations which could help overcome problems and identify joint opportunities in the expansion of trade. The two Governments should encourage and facilitate such industry-to-industry consultations and take them into account as part of developing the closer economic relationship.
However, it was also recognised that the time frame of such consultations should conform to the programme set by the two Governments for the implementation of the closer economic relationship.
The meeting expressed the view that pending the establishment of procedures to bring about a closer economic relationship, initiatives within the framework of NAFTA should be pursued positively.
A number of issues of concern to both sides were discussed. These included the intermediate goods problem, fiscal support mechanisms (including export incentives), tariffs and quantitative restrictions, government procurement policies and transport. A considerable degree of common ground was established, however it was agreed that these two issues warranted more detailed study by the CAI/NZMF Joint Working Party.
[NAA: A1838, 37011/19/18, xix]