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NZ and China launch FTA negotiations

NZ and China launch FTA negotiations

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced that New Zealand and China will commence negotiations on a free trade agreement within weeks.

Helen Clark made the announcement today after meeting President Hu Jintao of China at the APEC leaders’ meeting in Santiago. The two leaders released a study jointly prepared by New Zealand and Chinese officials on the feasibility of a New Zealand China FTA.

The study concluded that an FTA would benefit the people and economies of both countries. The negotiations will cover goods, services and investment.

“The removal of barriers to trade is a key element of the government’s growth and innovation agenda. An FTA provides the best opportunity to do this.” Helen Clark said.

“Our exports to China, the study says, will grow by as much as up to $NZ400 million a year over the next twenty years. This means more jobs and long term prosperity for New Zealanders.”

“This is an opportunity to level the playing field and create new opportunities for exporters. The study does recognize that a limited number of sectors in both countries will face challenges as they make any necessary adjustments, but the government is confident these can be addressed.

“I am very pleased at the level of political engagement which China has given to the FTA process. This is a concrete demonstration of the strong bilateral ties that our government has developed,” Helen Clark said.

New Zealand is the first developed country to recognize China as a market economy, and the first to launch an FTA negotiation with this fast growing economy.

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