New Zealand ratifies upgrade to 2008 free trade agreement with China


New Zealand has ratified an upgrade to its 2008 free trade agreement (FTA) with China that will give exports better access to the Chinese market.

Photo: 123RF

The effective date was agreed during a virtual meeting last week between Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor and his Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao.

O’Connor says the deal modernizes the original 2008 FTA and is part of groundbreaking work the government is doing to boost the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

“Our trade program has very good momentum, our primary industry exports are expected to hit a record $50 billion this year alone,” he said.

The upgrade includes new rules that make it easier to export goods to China and reduce compliance costs by millions of dollars each year.

O’Connor says it also has ambitious environmental measures – the highest level of commitment China has accepted in any FTA.

The upgrade will also remove tariffs on 12 additional wood and paper products worth approximately $30 million in trade with China; meaning that 99% of the wood and paper trade worth over $4 billion will soon have duty-free access.

“Exports of goods and services between China and New Zealand reached $20.1 billion in the year ending June 2021. New Zealand businesses will benefit from up-to-date rules that underpin our trade,” O’Connor said.

The upgraded FTA with China will come into effect on April 7, 2022.

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