Follow Us:

New Zealand, China to update free trade agreement

IANS | Wellington |

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English on Monday said the country will start talks with China to update their free trade agreement (FTA) on April 25.

English's remarks came after a meeting with visiting Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Wellington, Efe news reported.

He stressed that with the agreement, in force since 2008, trade exchange between the two countries has tripled, amounting to 23 billion New Zealand dollars ($16 billion).

"An upgrade will ensure this momentum continues and ensure that the FTA remains a modern agreement that tackles export barriers," the Prime Minister said.

The New Zealand government aims to increase the trade exchange with China to 30 billion New Zealand dollars by 2020.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at a joint press conference said, "This will give a strong boost to trade links between China and New Zealand and will send a positive signal to the world and to the region that our two countries are committed to free trade."

The leaders signed 21 agreements that include permission for Chinese frozen meat to be marketed in New Zealand with a six-month trial period, streamlining the customs process and increasing the number of flights between the two countries.

English and Li also discussed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that Beijing has been promoting as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is losing significance after the United States opted out of it.

Li's three-day visit to New Zealand, part of his tour of Oceania that began in Australia last week, will conclude on Tuesday.