China FTA Upgrade enters into force in April

New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19 continues to build momentum, with the Upgrade to New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China entering into force on 7 April 2022, Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor announced today.

Aotearoa New Zealand and China have now ratified the Upgrade Protocol and agreed the Entry into Force date, the final step following the signing of the FTA Upgrade in January 2021.

“This Upgrade is a significant step for us and forms part of a body of work we’re doing to drive our economic recovery from COVID,” Damien O’Connor said.

“Our trade agenda has very good momentum, with our primary industry exports forecast to hit a record $50 billion this year alone.

“We will soon be concluding our FTA negotiations with the UK, which will remove tariffs on our exports and create new market opportunities for New Zealand businesses. Our free trade negotiations are progressing with the EU for access to a market of 450 million people. In January the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) entered into force. And then of course, we have PACER Plus, which entered into force at the end of 2020,” Damien O’Connor said.

The China FTA Upgrade entry into force date was agreed in a virtual meeting last week between Damien O’Connor and his Chinese counterpart, Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao. 

“Goods and services exports between China and New Zealand reached $20.1 billion in the year ending June 2021. New Zealand businesses will benefit from up-to-date rules underpinning our trade.  This Upgrade modernises the original 2008 New Zealand-China FTA to ensure it remains fit for purpose,” Damien O’Connor said.

“The Upgrade also includes new market access commitments in goods and services, and additional trade facilitation measures.  In terms of goods, the Upgrade will deliver further market access improvements, resulting in tariff-free access for 99 percent of New Zealand’s $4 billion wood and paper trade to China, once fully implemented.  Our existing FTA will also be augmented by new chapters in e-commerce, competition policy, government procurement and the environment. 

“Separately, from 1 January 2022, most New Zealand dairy products to China are entitled to duty-free access for the first time as a result of ongoing implementation of the existing FTA. This will directly benefit many of New Zealand’s rural exporters to China, and is expected to result in additional savings of $180 million per annum at current export volumes,” Damien O’Connor said.

The Upgrade Protocol was signed by New Zealand and China in January 2021.  You can find out more about what it contains on the MFAT website.