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FTA upgrade on Key's China agenda

NZN 11/04/2016

Prime Minister John Key is heading to China at the end of this week and upgrading New Zealand's existing free trade agreement will be high on the agenda.

Mr Key will be meeting with China's president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang in the capital Beijing.

Mr Key, accompanied by Trade Minister Todd McClay, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and a business delegation, will also be travelling to Xi'an and Shanghai.

This month marks eight years since New Zealand's FTA with China was signed and since then two-way trade between the two countries has more than doubled, reaching almost $19 billion.

But a number of other countries, including Australia, have also secured FTAs with China in the intervening years.

Because New Zealand is still subject to a number of tariffs, there is a lot of financial benefit it an upgrade can be secured, Mr Key said.

"We also have a sense, at least, that Australia's FTA might be a bit better, and we've been talking about this issue for some time.

"We're going to work hard on it, we can't guarantee to you that we'll make immediate progress, but we continue to raise the issue."

Mr Key will be in China from April 17 to April 22.

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