China, New Zealand sign free trade deal upgrade protocol
Beijing, Jan 26 (IANS) China and New Zealand on Tuesday signed a protocol on upgrading their 12-year-old free trade agreement (FTA), which is expected to bring more benefits to the peoples of the two countries.
Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao and his New Zealand counterpart signed the protocol via video link, reports Xinhua news agency.
In 2008, China signed an FTA with New Zealand, the first between Beijing and a developed country.
The two sides announced the conclusion of their three-year negotiations on the upgrade in November 2019.
On the basis of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China will further expand its opening-up in sectors including aviation, education, finance, elderly care, and passenger transport to New Zealand to boost the trade of services.
For the trade of goods, the upgraded FTA will see both countries open their markets for certain wood and paper products and optimise trade rules such as rules of origin, technical barriers to trade and customs facilitation, China’s Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement.
New Zealand will lower its threshold for reviewing Chinese investment, allowing it to receive the same review treatment as members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
The two sides have also pledged to strengthen cooperation in the fields of e-commerce, competition policy, government procurement, the environment and trade.
The signature of the protocol is a concrete action in China’s practice of multilateralism and the construction of an open world economy, and marks an important step in implementing the FTA upgrade strategy, Wang said.
The two sides will promptly implement relevant domestic procedures so that the upgraded FTA can be operational as soon as possible, said the Commerce Ministry.