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Minister To Lead Trade Mission To Northern China

Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton is to lead a trade mission to northern China next month.

Mr Sutton said he had invited companies already doing business in China but looking to expand their activities to send representatives on the trade mission with him. So far, 21 companies and organisations have indicated they will take up the opportunity.

Mr Sutton said he would travel to northern China, visiting Beijing, Harbin, Dalian, and Qingdao between March 4 and March 15.

"This region has long been a significant contributor to the Chinese economy, with the north east for many years the backbone of China's industrial development. It presents considerable business and investment opportunities for New Zealand companies."

The focus of this mission is to be on resource-based products and services, and would include several education institutes.

Mr Sutton said two-way trade between New Zealand and China has grown considerably during the past year, with exports rising by over 47 per cent in the year ending 30 November 2001 to $1.3 billion.

China's accession to the World Trade Organisation last year, and the subsequent reduction in tariffs from January 1 this year meant there would be many new opportunities in the Chinese market for New Zealand exporters of goods and services, he said. While in Beijing, Mr Sutton hopes to meet his ministerial counterparts in both trade and agriculture.

Mr Sutton said China was not an easy market to break into, and next month's trade mission was aimed at helping exporters currently working in that market to build on or to expand their business in the northern provinces.

Ends

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