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Launch of negotiations to upgrade China FTA announced

Trade Advice

Former Prime Minister John Key announced on 21 November the launch of negotiations to upgrade the New Zealand - China Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The announcement followed a meeting with Trade Minister Todd McClay and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng at the APEC Summit in Lima, Peru.  Mr Key and President Xi welcomed the commitment to an upgrade at the APEC Leaders’ retreat.

“New Zealand was the first developed country to negotiate and conclude an FTA with China, and I’m pleased that today we have reached the fifth ‘first’ in our relationship, as the first developed country to launch an upgrade of an FTA,” says Mr Key.

“It has been eight years since our FTA with China came into force and it has exceeded all expectations.  It has an enviable record and showcases to the world the importance of trade liberalisation.

“The upgrade will be an opportunity to deepen and broaden our comprehensive strategic partnership.

“It will ensure that our FTA continues to drive our relationship forward and takes into account the FTAs that China has negotiated with other trading partners since 2008.”

The negotiations will look to improve or enhance the broad range of areas already covered by the FTA.  This gives either party the ability to raise issues of importance to them, and includes technical barriers to trade, customs procedures, cooperation and trade facilitation, rules of origin, services, and environmental cooperation.  It will also address a number of newer areas such as competition policy and e-commerce.

A first round of negotiations will be held in the first half of 2017.

China is New Zealand’s second-largest goods and services export market and our largest export destination for goods.  In the year ending June 2016, the value of goods and services exports totalled $12.2 billion.
Since the FTA, New Zealand’s goods exports to China have quadrupled, reaching $9.2 billion, and services exports have tripled, reaching $3.0 billion.