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China NZ FTA upgrade talks start in April

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/03/2017

Upgrade talks on the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement will begin next month, Prime Minister Bill English has revealed.

The announcement was made during a visit to Wellington by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday.

The two leaders held a series of high level meetings at Premier House in the morning, including agreeing to a series of initiatives to benefit the two countries and agreeing to take the original FTA agreement, signed in 2008, forward.

Two-way trade between the two countries had tripled since that agreement came into force.

"An upgrade will ensure this momentum continues and ensure the FTA remains a modern agreement that tackles barriers our exporters face," Mr English said.

"It will assist progress toward our target of $30 billion two-way trade by 2020."

Currently two-way trade is worth $23 billion.

Upgrade talks are due to begin on April 25.

The leaders, who were accompanied by a delegation of ministers and business people, also agreed to a series of other initiatives to grow the relationship between China and New Zealand.

Those include an announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett that a climate change action plan will be put in place with China, including to share technical information and expertise about carbon markets and emissions trading schemes.

Ms Bennett has also declared 2019 the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.

CHINA-NEW ZEALAND INITIATIVES ANNOUNCED ON MONDAY:

* Access to China for chilled meat from 10 New Zealand processors, starting with a six-month trial.

* A climate change action plan, enabling closer co-operation to transition to low carbon economies.

* Mutual recognition of trusted exporters.

* Increasing direct flights between China and New Zealand from 49 to 59.

* Frameworks for exploring economic opportunities including China's Belt and Road initiative.

* Enhanced co-operation in agriculture, sustainable fisheries, environmental issues, education and training, international development, health research and intellectual property.

* Agreement to strengthen co-operation on judicial and law enforcement issues.

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