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Kiwi gov't welcomes WTO procurement pact accession

WELLINGTON, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government on Thursday welcomed the country's accession to the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA).

"Kiwi companies now have more opportunities to do business with governments internationally than ever before," Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said in a statement.

"From today they have guaranteed access to bid for approximately 1.7 trillion U.S. dollars in annual overseas government contracts across 43 WTO member countries, including the U.S., Canada, Japan and 28 countries of the EU," said Joyce.

"This figure is expected to grow significantly as further countries join the GPA over time, creating new opportunities for Kiwi businesses to export more products and services to more destinations."

Accession would be a big boost for New Zealand manufacturers and information and communication technology exporters, and would assist with the continuing diversification of the New Zealand economy.

The GPA covered the purchase of a broad range of goods and services that government agencies bought from the private sector, including construction.

New Zealand's accession followed two years of negotiations, Trade Minister Tim Groser said in the statement.

The government's Trade and Enterprise agency was supporting companies to identify and take advantage of international trade opportunities.

"Our accession to the WTO GPA, along with our other free trade agreements, is a welcome and significant step in opening up large overseas markets to our Kiwi suppliers," said Groser.

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