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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (The Independent, ) – Vanuatu growers of papaya (pawpaw) can now export produce to New Zealand under recently agreed import health standards, Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced in Port Vila today.

Mr. Peters said New Zealand was committed to developing two-way trade in the Pacific region, and he hoped growers in Vanuatu would take advantage of the new export opportunities.

"Agriculture has been identified by the Vanuatu government as a sector that can help deliver sustained economic growth for the country, and create much needed employment. We will continue to work with Vanuatu to find ways of facilitating trade to achieve this goal," Mr. Peters said. "Papaya is the most recent of number of agricultural items approved this year for export to New Zealand from Vanuatu. Over the past 12 months a number of citrus fruits, as well as eggplant, cucumber, and chili peppers have been approved by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for importation into New Zealand under agreed health standards.

"The opening of New Zealand’s markets to Vanuatu produce sits alongside our support and funding for regional trade facilitation under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations agreement, and the new five-year New Zealand/Vanuatu development strategy, which at the request of the Vanuatu government will focus more on rural economic development."

June 13, 2006

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