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Signing the Closer Economic Relations agreement


The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Robert Muldoon, watched by James Webster, Australia’s High Commissioner to New Zealand signs the Heads of Agreement on 15 December 1982 which paved the way for the introduction of The Australia–New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, better known as CER, which came into force on 1 January 1983. National MP Hugh Templeton, one of New Zealand’s principal negotiators, is seated in the background. On the big screen is the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Douglas Anthony. 

Building on the 1966 New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement, CER was New Zealand’s first comprehensive bilateral trade agreement, and one of the first such agreements in the world. The two major sticking points in the negotiations had been New Zealand's wish for better access for its dairy products in Australia and Australia's wish for New Zealand to remove export incentives and quantitative restrictions. After the two hurdles were overcome via the Heads of Agreement in December 1983, CER was formally signed on 28 March 1983.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: EP/1982/4383/11-F
Photographer: Ross Giblin

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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Signing the Closer Economic Relations agreement, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated