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Premier Li Keqiang to visit New Zealand

March 20, 2017

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s official visit to New Zealand next week will set the stage for accelerated economic cooperation and trade, according to the New Zealand China Council.

Executive Director Stephen Jacobi says talks to upgrade New Zealand’s 2008 Free Trade Agreement with China are already underway and the Premier’s visit will provide a boost to this work.

“We need to bring the FTA up to date and catch up with countries like Australia which have signed FTAs more recently.  This means removing remaining non tariff barriers to trade and improving access for dairy, wood, meat and horticulture, while addressing new ways of doing business like e-commerce.”

Also on the agenda for talks between Premier Li and Prime Minister English will be China’s “Belt and Road” (BAR) Initiative, an ambitious new economic platform connecting the Pacific to Asia and beyond to Europe via land and sea trading routes.

“Eight of our top twenty export markets are located along the Belt and Road; and half of our top twenty export markets have signed up for BAR projects”.

The NZ China Council has accepted an invitation to be represented at a high level Belt and Road Forum in Beijing 14-15 May.

“The Premier’s visit and BAR Forum in May will be great opportunities to develop greater understanding of how New Zealand can contribute in terms of trade, investment and policy ideas to China’s future vision for economic development”.

Premier Li’s visit coincides with the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 90th anniversary of Rewi Alley’s arrival in China.

“This year’s anniversaries provide a platform for considering how the relationship can be advanced in the future based on our common interests in the long term stability of the Asia Pacific region,” Mr Jacobi says.

Additional Coverage:

Stephen Jacobi on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report

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