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China and New Zealand commit to enhancing trade and economic collaboration, fostering stronger ties between the two nations


Robert Tavares

May 3, 2024 - 10:15 am


Chinese Foreign Minister Urges Trade Negotiations

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged the initiation of negotiations on the negative list of service trade between China and New Zealand. He emphasized the importance of pushing bilateral cooperation to new heights through these discussions, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Historical Trade Agreements

New Zealand holds a significant place in China's trade history, being the first developed country to sign a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with China in 2008. This agreement underwent expansion in 2022, marking a milestone in the economic relationship between the two nations.

Upgraded Free Trade Agreement

China and New Zealand are actively working towards implementing an upgraded version of their free trade agreement. This development signifies their commitment to further enhancing economic collaboration and trade exchanges.

Negotiations and Collaborations

During an official visit to New Zealand, Wang Yi met with New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay to discuss the commencement of negotiations on the negative list of service trade. This step is seen as crucial in deepening economic ties and expanding cooperation in various sectors.

Economic Partnership

McClay highlighted the importance of the upgraded China-New Zealand FTA amidst global trade barriers and uncertainties. He emphasized that this upgraded agreement serves as a model for expanding economic partnerships and facilitating trade, investment, and personnel exchanges between the two countries.

Commitment to Free Trade

China's commitment to free trade and open markets was reiterated by Wang Yi during his visit. He expressed China's readiness to strengthen cooperation with New Zealand in the coming decade, underscoring the significance of safeguarding free trade principles.

Trade Volume and Economic Impact

China stands as New Zealand's top trading partner, with significant bilateral trade volume totaling NZ$38.7 billion ($23.55 billion) in the year ending September 2023. This robust economic relationship underscores the mutual benefits derived from trade and investment between the two nations.

Security and Regional Cooperation

In addition to trade discussions, both ministers also addressed security concerns in the Pacific region. They acknowledged areas of cooperation while also addressing differences, particularly regarding human rights issues and regional tensions.

Human Rights Concerns

New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters highlighted areas of difference, including human rights issues such as the situation in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Tibet. These discussions reflect the importance of addressing sensitive topics while fostering diplomatic relations.

Shared Interests in Regional Stability

Both China and New Zealand emphasized their shared interest in maintaining a secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. They raised concerns over increased tensions in areas like the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, highlighting the need for dialogue and peaceful resolutions to regional challenges.

Taiwan and South China Sea Dynamics

China's territorial claims over Taiwan and its assertiveness in the South China Sea have been longstanding issues in the region. The discussions between the two nations underscore the complexity of these geopolitical dynamics and the importance of diplomatic engagement in addressing regional concerns.

Bilateral Dialogues and Diplomatic Visits

Wang Yi's visit to New Zealand and Australia signifies ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral dialogues and diplomatic relations. His engagement in the China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong reflects the broader regional dynamics and China's diplomatic outreach efforts.

In conclusion, the discussions between China and New Zealand regarding trade negotiations, economic cooperation, security, and regional stability highlight the multifaceted nature of their bilateral relations. The commitment to free trade, dialogue on sensitive issues, and shared interests in regional peace and prosperity underscore the importance of diplomatic engagement and collaboration between the two nations.