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Business analyst impressed by Japanese proposal to form a massive Asian economic free trade zone including NZ by 2010
[April 04, 2006]

Business analyst impressed by Japanese proposal to form a massive Asian economic free trade zone including NZ by 2010

(IRN News Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)A business analyst is impressed by a Japanese proposal to form a massive Asian economic free trade zone by 2010.

New Zealand could be included.

The 16-member East Asian Economic Partnership Agreement would service about half the world's population, and would have a combined gross domestic product roughly equal to a quarter of the world's GDP.

Analyst Fran O'Sullivan says it would be concerning if the WTO stalemate continues, and the world reverts to the big regional trade pacts like North America's NAFTA and the EU.

She says if Asia forms a trade grouping without us we would be in deep trouble, so we have to be in there somewhere.

However, she says if these trade groupings go ahead at the expense of the WTO, New Zealand will certainly feel that as well.

Ms O'Sullivan says the Japanese proposal is massive, and the desire to have it up and running within four years is breathtaking.

She says she has no idea whether the idea will fly, but it matches the way a lot of the partners around the table at the East Asian summit were talking last year, and it is in line with the type of diplomacy that New Zealand has been pushing.

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