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Govt in talks to upgrade China trade deal

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/11/2016 Sean Martin

New Zealand has entered talks to upgrade its free trade deal with China.

Prime Minister John Key said the negotiations would look to improve New Zealand's trade deal with the world's second-largest economy in a range of areas, including possibly increasing the amount of dairy products that could be exported before tariffs kicked in.

"What we continue to see is what is that, despite that it's quite a comprehensive FTA ... there are product categories where it's quite difficult for our exporters to get in there," he said at the APEC leaders' summit in Lima, Peru.

"Dairy safeguards cut in very early on."

But he said the process was a highly technical negotiation, with the exact outcomes still far from clear.

Other areas to be renegotiated include rules around customs procedures, e-commerce, environmental issues and government procurement.

A first round of talks is expected to begin in the early half of 2017.

In 2008, New Zealand became the first developed country in the world to sign a free trade deal with China.

Since then, New Zealand's exports to China have quadrupled to $9.2 billion and service exports have tripled to $3b.

Both New Zealand and China are also parties to the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership - a 16 country deal covering south-east Asia.

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