NZ-China Free Trade AgreementHelen Clark Prime Minister
Prime Minister Helen Clark and Chinese counterpart, Premier Wen Jiabao, have witnessed the signing of the historic Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and China in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
The ceremony on 7 April was the culmination of 15 rounds of negotiations over three years. New Zealand is the first developed country to negotiate an FTA with China.
“Over time this FTA will result in the elimination of tariffs on 96 per cent of New Zealand exports to China, and is estimated to lift New Zealand’s export revenue from China by between US$180 to US$280 million (NZ$225 to NZ$350 million) every year,” Helen Clark said.
“The signing of this agreement is a very significant achievement for New Zealand. It opens up new opportunities for businesses looking to engage with, or grow their existing links with, China. It will facilitate goods and services trade, and investment.
“Overall, the FTA reduces barriers to our trade with China. It promotes co-operation in a broad range of economic areas, and also provides a platform for further engagement at the governmental, cultural, and people-to-people levels.
“New Zealand and China have also agreed to establish a working holiday scheme. New Zealand has such schemes with many other countries. This one will enable up to 1000 skilled young Chinese travellers to enter New Zealand on working holidays each year.
“There will also be provision for up to 1,800 skilled Chinese workers to enter New Zealand on work permits each year for work in both specialised fields such as Chinese traditional medicine, Mandarin language teaching, chefs specialising in Chinese cuisine, tour guides, and martial arts teachers, and in areas of specified skills shortage.
“New Zealand and China have also signed binding agreements on labour and environment, aimed at encouraging dialogue and co-operation in these two important areas,” Helen Clark said.
Helen Clark said that a dedicated website containing more information about the FTA has been launched.
The site, www.ChinaFTA.govt.nz, contains the full text of the agreement and a detailed guide to it. It features tools to assist New Zealand and Chinese businesses to take advantage of the FTA.
Information about the FTA will also be made available to New Zealand businesses in a series of five roadshows in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin over the next few weeks.
The objective is for the FTA to come into force on 1 October 2008, after the New Zealand Parliament has passed implementing legislation, and after the two countries have exchanged notes confirming that domestic legal procedures have been completed.
FTA-related Ministerial speeches and announcements:
- NZ-China FTA celebration function: Helen Clark's address to the NZ-China FTA celebration function in Wellington. 15 April, 2008
- Exporting gets that little bit easier: Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson tells attendees at an Export New Zealand event in Parliament about the government's commitment to partnering businesses to help them grow and become globally competitive. 10 April, 2008
- Website demonstrates huge interest in NZ-China FTA: The new Government website containing information on the FTA has received a huge amount of interest in its first 48 hours of operation. Phil Goff. 9 April 2008
- Putting the FTA into action: Trade Minister Phil Goff leads businesses to one of China’s fastest growing regions, Hangzhou city, as part of the Government’s drive to promote New Zealand’s image in China. 9 April, 2008
- FTA a great opportunity for education: New Zealand’s profile as a quality education provider has received a huge boost through the signing of the FTA. Chris Carter, Education Minister. 8 April, 2008
- Navigating China Seminar: Trade Minister Phil Goff's speech to the Navigating China Seminar -- a NZTE event for the NZ trade delegation in Beijing. 8 April, 2008
- New Zealand-China FTA celebration: Prime Minister Helen Clark's address the at dinner to celebrate the signing of the FTA. 7 April 2008
- Historic first - NZ-China Free trade Agreement signed: Statement by Prime Minister Helen Clark on witnessing the signing of the historic Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and China. 7 April, 2008
- NZ-China Free Trade Agreement: Trade Minister Phil Goff announces trip to China for the FTA. 4 April, 2008