We believe that signature of the CER Agreement as it now stands is in the Australian national interest for the following reasons:-
- The agreement will in time serve to make both economies more efficient besides promoting complementarity and rationalisation.
- It will lead to the expansion of trade between the two countries which is already of the order of $1.8 billion (New Zealand is our third largest export market and our largest market for manufactures). NAFTA arrangements have in recent years become increasingly restrictive.
- It will lead to greater co-operation between the two countries in international economic negotiations including greater scope for joint marketing.
- Enhanced economic benefits flowing from the agreement will strengthen the geopolitical position of both countries in the South Pacific region especially through increased aid, investment, tourism and greater trade.
- The agreement meets specific Australian trade and industrial interests, e.g. in encouraging Australian industry to be more competitive internationally.
- It complements the free labour market which has long existed between the two countries.
- To the degree to which the agreement leads to a revival in the New Zealand economy it may diminish the flow of unemployed New Zealanders to Australia in the Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement.
- The present New Zealand Government would be bitterly disappointed should the agreement not be signed and this could affect co-operation in other areas of the relationship.
- The agreement will reinforce the special relationship which has existed between the two countries since 1840 and which has been given visible form in the ANZAC relationship in World Wars I and II, as well as in the 194 Australia - New Zealand Agreement and our common membership of the ANZUS and ANZAM agreements.1
[NAA: A1838, 37011/19/18, xxxvi]