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The launch of negotiations to upgrade the existing China-New Zealand free trade agreement (FTA) was announced on November 21, following a meeting between Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng and New Zealand's Trade Minister Todd McClay at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Lima.
New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key noted that "New Zealand was the first developed country to negotiate and conclude an FTA with China, and … (is also) the first developed country to launch an upgrade of an FTA."
He added that, since its completion in 2008, the FTA "has exceeded all expectations. It has an enviable record and showcases to the world the importance of trade liberalization. The upgrade … will ensure that our FTA continues to drive our relationship forward and takes into account the FTAs that China has negotiated with other trading partners since 2008."
It was stated that the negotiations will look to improve or enhance the broad range of areas already covered by the FTA, including technical barriers to trade, customs procedures, cooperation and trade facilitation, rules of origin, services, and environmental cooperation. It will also address a number of newer areas such as competition policy and e-commerce.
The two countries have agreed to hold an initial round of negotiations in the first half of 2017, and to strive for an agreement as soon as possible.
Since the FTA was completed, New Zealand's goods exports to China have quadrupled, reaching around USD6.5bn. China is New Zealand's largest export destination for goods and second-largest goods and services export market.
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