The text of a letter sent from Senators McCain and Sununu to President Bush

March 6, 2006

The Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing to encourage you to launch free trade negotiations with New Zealand.

After our recent visit to New Zealand, we can attest to the great enthusiasm in that country for launching FTA talks with the United States.  We share this enthusiasm, believing that doing so would be firmly in the interest of the United States.  By enhancing our bilateral relations in this way, we could strengthen ties with a key partner in the Pacific that makes important contributions to the global war on terror.

Free trade with New Zealand would be in the clear economic interest of the United States.  Initial projections by the Institute for International Economics suggest that, under an FTA, U.S. merchandise exports would rise by roughly 25 percent, and that virtually every U.S. sector would benefit.  An FTA with the United States would also offer tangible recognition to New Zealand’s innovative and sweeping economic reforms of the past two decades, and thus offer incentives for other countries to do likewise.  Finally, a bilateral agreement would form a natural complement to the U.S.-Australia FTA and, if properly structured, would benefit the economies of all three countries.

But the reasons to move forward with an FTA go beyond the economic benefits.  New Zealand’s contributions to coalition efforts in the global war on terror include the deployment of special forces to Afghanistan and leadership a Provincial Reconstruction Team there, and its military partners with the United States in multiple regions. 

It is no secret that the United States and New Zealand have had differences in the past,,   but we cannot allow these differences to obstruct forward movement in this crucial bilateral relationship, nor let it block progress in areas of mutual interest.  Moving ahead with an FTA is one such area, and we urge you to begin negotiations as soon as possible.  Knowing that the Administration is aggressively negotiating FTAs with a number of important countries, we believe that an agreement with New Zealand would complement that work. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter.      



John McCain    
U.S. Senate 


John Sununu