State Visit Of Chinese President
Prime Minister Jenny Shipley today announced details of the visit to New Zealand by His Excellency Mr Jiang Zemin, President of the People's Republic of China (PRC).
"President Jiang's three days visit is a "milestone" for New Zealand, as it is the first-ever visit by a PRC Head of State to New Zealand.
"Not only is it the first time a Head of State from China has visited New Zealand but he will be accompanied by his wife Madam Wang Yeping, the Vice Premier and several Ministers.
"China is an increasingly important influence in our region. New Zealand links with China are growing and the President's visit symbolises the beginning of a new period of development in the relationship," the Prime Minister said.
President Jiang and his delegation will visit Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch from Monday 13 September to Thursday 16 September.
Mrs Shipley said trade between China and New Zealand has grown rapidly in recent years with annual two way merchandise trade now worth New Zealand $1.828 billion.
"This makes China our sixth largest export market and fifth largest trading partner, exports and imports combined."
The Prime Minister said that taking the China and Hong Kong trade figures together would see this market in fifth place behind the United Kingdom and ahead of Korea.
"While our exports to China have traditionally been dominated by wool, our recent trade performance has seen a widening range of products exported. In the next few years, services exports are also likely to expand rapidly. For example specialist consultancy, aviation services, tourism and education.
"Education, tourism and trade particularly wool, farming and forestry will be the focus of President Jiang's three day stay. He will also meet with New Zealand business leaders, have official talks with the Government, meet Chinese migrants and visit a farm and secondary school.
"Recent visits to the People's Republic of China by me and my colleagues have shown us that New Zealand must grasp the opportunities which this visit presents.
"APEC brought President Jiang and his top level delegation to New Zealand. The State Visit that follows APEC gives us a unique opportunity to show him our country” the prime Minister said.