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Chamber Applauds Historic Trade Agreement

Chamber Applauds Historic Trade Agreement

The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce has applauded today’s signing of the historic Free Trade Agreement between China and New Zealand.

“While we will need some time to study the detail, our first impressions of the agreement are very positive”, said Chamber CEO Charles Finny, who was at the signing ceremony in Beijing.

“This is clearly the most comprehensive and highest quality FTA that China has yet to sign. It is also the first that China has signed with a developed country.

“For New Zealand it is the most important FTA since the finalisation of CER 25 years ago. Indeed with its coverage of services and investment this FTA is more far-reaching than the original CER. We note also that on investment this agreement probably goes beyond CER.

“We very much welcome the provisions on labour movement. Our members say that the biggest problem they face is hiring labour and skilled labour in particular. The agreement is helpful in this regard. We would have been happier if the provisions had been more extensive.

“We are pleased that the agreement covers around 96% of existing goods trade, but would have preferred 100% coverage. Likewise we would have preferred more extensive services coverage, but this agreement is “WTO plus” which is positive. It also deals with a number of behind-the-border issues.

“As well as the direct benefits, the agreement will provide additional gains for New Zealand through the increased investment it is likely to attract from foreign companies wanting to take advantage of the FTA.

“We are looking forward to working with the government to implement the agreement and to assisting our members take full advantage of it. We are in the process of organising seminars on the implications of the agreement for exporters and on its provisions around rules of origin.

“We congratulate Helen Clark and Phil Goff for the leadership they have shown in finalising this deal, and the officials led by MFAT’s Dr David Walker who did so much hard work to negotiate it.

We are also pleased that the opposition National Party is supporting this outcome so strongly and we call on the Maori Party, The Greens, and New Zealand First to reconsider their positions and adopt an equally mature approach,” Mr Finny concluded.


ENDS

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