Prime Minister and Premier reaffirm strong economic relationship

Prime Minister

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang for their first bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing today.

“In my meeting with Premier Li Qiang I reaffirmed New Zealand’s significant relationship with China, including our strong economic relationship which is helping boost New Zealand’s economic recovery”, Chris Hipkins said. 

“Our trading relationship is worth over $40 billion annually, and as we continue to grow exports into new markets like the United Kingdom and European Union, it’s also important we reaffirm the important economic connections we have with China.

“Tourism between our countries was high on the agenda, with air connectivity beginning to return to pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing the return of businesspeople, students and tourists helping to boost our economic recovery.

“With borders now open our service exports, like tourism and international education, are recovering. Today we further progressed arrangements under our Free Trade Upgrade that may give New Zealand businesses improved market access compared to what they had pre Covid, and help the recovery of our service exports.

"Our strong people to people links, and the importance of cultural connections to our respective countries was also high on the agenda. China is an important market to the Māori economy, with exports to China worth over $360 million a year, and it was also important to reaffirm those connections on behalf of the businesses back home," Chris Hipkins said. 

Premier Li and Prime Minister Hipkins took part in the signings of a range of cooperative arrangements in trade, agriculture, forestry, education, and science and innovation.

The Prime Minister also noted that New Zealand and China cooperate in many other areas beyond trade to advance the wellbeing of both countries.

“Addressing the effects of climate change are priorities for both Governments, and it was important to highlight our ongoing commitment to cooperation in this area,” Chris Hipkins said.

“It was also important to acknowledge areas of difference, such as over human rights. We engaged on these as well, as we regularly do in a respectful but consistent way that is aligned with New Zealand’s independent interests and values.”

A range of regional and global issues were also discussed, including the Indo-Pacific region, tensions in the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait.

“I talked about how important it is that engagement in the Pacific takes place in a manner which advances Pacific priorities and supports regional organisations - in particular the Pacific Islands Forum,” Chris Hipkins said.

”We also discussed the fundamental principles at stake in Ukraine, and I urged China to use its influence to encourage Russia to act consistently with its international obligations and cease its illegal war in Ukraine.”

Prime Minister Hipkins and Premier Li also released a joint statement (see attachment).