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China Trade Pledge A Good First Step

3 March 2004
PR 52/04

China Trade Pledge A Good First Step

A comprehensive free trade deal with China would give a significant boost to the New Zealand economy, said Tom Lambie, President of Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc).

"A free trade deal could give New Zealand exporters, particularly those of agricultural products, a potentially huge market," said Mr Lambie.

He was commenting on a media report that preliminary talks on a China-New Zealand free trade deal had been positive, and that further negotiations were due to begin early next year.

The report said that New Zealand could be the first developed country to strike a free-trade deal with China after our government told Beijing it formally recognised its “market economy” status.

Mr Lambie praised New Zealand negotiators for their work so far.

“There is a long way to go before a free trade deal is concluded, but any progress toward wider access for exports to a market of 1.3 billion people has to be good," he said.

China's share of world income has risen from four per cent in 1988 to 13 percent today. By 2015, China is expected to account for 20 percent of world income.

In return, China is likely to want New Zealand to lower clothing tariffs.

Mr Lambie said fears that the New Zealand market will be used as a dumping ground for cheap Chinese textile and clothing products are probably groundless.

“As a member of the World Trade Organisation, China has to abide by that organisation’s anti-dumping rules,” he said.

“All sectors, not only agriculture, would benefit from a genuine free trade agreement. Such a deal would be a win-win outcome for both nations.”

Ends

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