INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZ-China Free Trade Agreement to enter into force

Published: Wed 1 Oct 2008 09:26 AM
NZ-China Free Trade Agreement to enter into force
The New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) enters into force tomorrow, Trade Minister Phil Goff said.
“There has been an hugely positive response from New Zealand’s business community to what the FTA with China – our third largest trading partner – offers. When the FTA was signed in Beijing in April 2008, Government ministers were accompanied by 190 New Zealand business people,” Phil Goff said.
“From tomorrow, 1 October, tariffs on 35 percent of our exports to China will be set at zero and within five years two thirds of our exports will enter China tariff free. By the start of 2019, 96 per cent of our exports will be free of tariffs.
“This gives our exporters a significant competitive advantage in one of the world’s largest markets. Export of goods to China is already worth about $2 billion a year, while China is our largest source of international students and now our fourth largest source of tourists.
“The estimated benefit to New Zealand of a free trade agreement is a growth in exports against baselines of between $225 million and $350 million a year and a reduction in tariff payments worth $115 million.
“While the scale of the opportunities for New Zealand businesses in China is impressive, there is a need for companies to be fully prepared to work within conditions that differ greatly from our own and to understand China’s business culture,” Phil Goff said.
“The recent contamination of China’s milk supply has shown that those investing in joint ventures need to ensure they can exercise adequate control over production and marketing processes.
”The Government, through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, has run road shows on the China FTA in nine New Zealand cities over the past four months, with full attendances.
“NZTE is to run another series of workshops from November this year and is working with Chambers of Commerce to help businesses in the market. It is also in the process of opening five more offices in China, bringing the total to eight, which will further assist New Zealand businesses wanting to enter or expand their presence in the Chinese market.
“The Government’s FTA website: www.chinafta.govt.nz, which contains useful information on trading with China, has also been extremely popular, with over 316,000 hits.
“The FTA provides additional protection for New Zealand investors in China and contains mechanisms that will allow for the two countries to resolve trade and investment issues.
“Parallel agreements to the FTA also provide mechanisms for cooperation and consultation over issues of trade and labour and environmental standards, the first such agreement that China has entered into with any trading partner,” Phil Goff said.
ends

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