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Encouraging omen for free trade

8 June, 2004

New Zealand links with Sichuan – encouraging omen for free trade

A stimulation of trading opportunities between New Zealand and the 90 million people of Sichuan is the objective of a trade agreement signed today in Auckland by the New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA) and officials of the Chinese province.

Representing the NZCTA, former chairman Victor Percival said the agreement symbolised a second tier of country-to-province relationships that would underpin the approaching free trade arrangement between the two countries.

“It is clear that the free trade agreement now under negotiation will provide the country to country trading umbrella and set conditions under which business between the two nations takes place.

“But it will be the provincial level arrangements that drive new business by putting in place contact points across China which New Zealand traders and business people can plug into to open new avenues for trade and investment.

“New Zealand periodically targets American states and their local governance structures for focussed regional sales promotions. These provincial agreements will open the way for similar activities within China.”

Mr Percival signed the agreement on behalf of the NZCTA while Mr Tang Li Min, director of the Sichuan provincial government investment promotion bureau, signed for Sichuan. Mr Zhang Xuezhong, Secretary of the Communist Party of China Committee of Sichuan Province and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Sichuan Provincial People’s Congress, led the delegation for the signing ceremony.

“The province of Sichuan was a pioneer in the introduction of the economic reforms that have modernised China,” said Mr Percival. “Its willingness to lead this provincial movement to greater trade and people to people co-operation with New Zealand is an encouraging omen for the free trade negotiations.”

ENDS

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