Media release, 26 January 2021
The virtual signing of the Upgrade of the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement today is a great start to the new year, say business leaders from the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF).
“This is good news at a difficult time and comes on the heels of the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November” said NZIBF Chair Philip Gregan.
“It shows that trade liberalisation is still possible even in the midst of a global pandemic and that New Zealand and China can pursue a mutually beneficial economic relationship despite the differences between us”.
China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner and the Upgrade to the 2008 Free Trade Agreement was concluded in November 2019. The signing was delayed by the pandemic and by New Zealand’s general election.
“The China FTA was a ground-breaking agreement when it was signed in April 2008. It gave New Zealand a first mover advantage in the Chinese market and trade has expanded as a result. In the interim China has implemented a number of FTAs with our competitors. This Upgrade brings the FTA up to date and adds some new, important elements such as the new chapters on e-commerce, trade and the environment and government procurement, as well as some new commitments on services and some modest market access on wood and paper products”.
“We thank both Governments for their efforts to secure the Upgrade at a time when many pressures are being brought to bear on the international trading system and congratulate Trade Minister O’Connor and officials on signing the deal today”, concluded Mr Gregan.