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Prime Minister John Key will lead a high-level business delegation to China, visiting Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai.

“China is a key destination for our goods exports and an important consumer of New Zealand services,” says Mr Key.

"The visit provides an opportunity to strengthen our relationship and showcase New Zealand’s creativity, innovation, and high-tech credentials.”

In Beijing, Mr Key will hold meetings with China’s leaders, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

“Along with a broad range of topics, I look forward to continuing discussions with them on an upgrade of the China New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA), signed eight years ago this month,” says Mr Key.

“Since this time, two-way trade between New Zealand and China has more than doubled, reaching almost $19 billion. An FTA upgrade would allow us to modernise the agreement and ensure it continues to drive our relationship forward.”

In Beijing, Mr Key will address students at Tsinghua University, one of China’s premier tertiary institutions, and meet with senior Chinese business leaders.

Mr Key will hold official meetings with senior provincial and city leaders in the major centres of Xi’an and Shanghai.

In his first visit to Xi’an, Mr Key will support New Zealand business and cultural links with Xi’an, including through a visit to Xi’an’s international trade and logistics hub – part of China’s Belt and Road initiative.

Mr Key will also help to promote New Zealand’s creative industries by attending the launch of the New Zealand Film Festival in Shanghai.

Mr Key will be accompanied by Trade Minister Todd McClay and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.  The delegation will be in China from April 17 to April 22.