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New Zealand Prime Minister visits Argentina.

Thursday, November 29th 2001 - 20:00 UTC
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During her recent visit to the country, New Zealand's Prime Minister, Helen Clark, spoke with the top Argentine authorities about several issues including fisheries.

She held separate meetings with President Fernando De la Rúa and the Minister of Economy, Domingo Cavallo, and the Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food, Marcelo Regúnada.

Ms Clark spoke about the possibility of her country's sector launching an investment plan in Argentina but she pointed out this would be conditioned by the overdue implementation of a quota system established by Federal Law.

Both the Argentine President and the Minister said the quota system's implementation system was an irreversible fact in the country and the first individual and provisional quotas should be established before the end of the year.

Fisheries Secretary Marcelo Regúnada was given precise orders to speed up the quota system's implementation to ensure it would be in force as soon as possible.

In this context, the Federal Fisheries Council has taken an important step, following its decision to publish the lists of historic catches by vessels and their fishing permits for several species, including hake, hoki, southern blue whiting and Patagonian toothfish.

Chartering system abolished

On Tuesday, the House of Deputies approved a law abolishing a previous decree, which authorised the operations of foreign squid jigging vessels in Argentine waters.

Since its promulgation during the administration of former president Carlos Menem, the said decree, Number 1285/99, has become the target of strong criticism and angry complaints by many industry stakeholders, political leaders and organisations.

Now, following the Deputies' decision, the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food (SAGPyA) won't be able to reach an agreement concerning the letter of understanding signed with a Japanese delegation in October this year On that ocassion the Japanese requested that a maximum of 25 Japanese flagged vessels and two bare charter boats be permitted to catch illex squid in Argentine waters next season.

"The Argentine Congress has prioritised the interests of the country's companies and workers over any other commercial operation, particularly at a time when we, as a nation, should try to reactivate our economy," Deputy Ricardo Patterson, president of the Maritime Interests Co

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