REMARKS TO CCPIT GUANGZHOU DELEGATION
It is good to be with you today and to welcome you to New Zealand.
I welcome you on behalf of the New Zealand China Council and I convey the greetings of our Chairman, Rt Hon Sir Don McKinnon.
The New Zealand China Council is dedicated to deepening and strengthening the relationship between China and New Zealand.
With members drawn from the Government, business and the wider community, we work at a strategic level to create the best possible environment for the relationship both in New Zealand and with our friends in China.
China is an extremely important partner for New Zealand as the recent visit by Premier Li Keqiang shows.
Our two countries are already good friends and strong partners, co-operating actively across a range of areas.
China is important as an export market and a source of imports,foreign investment,tourists and students.
We appreciate China’s growing global leadership and the strong stand being taken by President Xi Jinping in support of globalisation and free trade.
We here in New Zealand are very proud of the ground-breaking FTA which entered into force in 2008.
New Zealand was the first developed country to sign an FTA with China – one of the many “firsts” in our relationship.
The FTA has shown itself to be a “win-win” agreement, which has delivered benefits to us both.
But the FTA is now nine years old which is a short time in history but a long time in business!
Other countries have now negotiated their own FTAs with China.
Our FTA needs to be brought up to date to address some ongoing problems, to ensure the FTA remains relevant into the future and to incorporate new business models like e-commerce.
This is important if the trade relationship is to reach the new target of $30 billion by 2020 set by President Xi Jinping and former Prime Minister John Key in 2015.
Today our trade (imports and exports) stands at $23 billion.
Trade figures do not fully capture the value from rapidly expanding tourism – 400,000 Chinese tourists now visit every year and the number is set to grow as more and more flights from Chinese airports are added.
贸易数字没有完全反映迅速增长的旅游业的价值 – 现在40万中国游客到访，并且每年这个数字将增加，还会添加更多来自中国机场的航班。
Investment from China too is growing rapidly and is highly diversified in sectors such as manufacturing, the creative sector, horticulture, tourism and finance as well as the agricultural sector.
Investment from China remains significantly less than investment from Australia and the United States.
We are also very interested to explore other opportunities to work with China to open new markets and foster trade and investment in the Asia Pacific region.
We are negotiating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and are looking for China’s support to make this an ambitious, high quality and comprehensive agreement.
New Zealand was among the first economies to support the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Now we are interested to discuss ways of contributing to President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative and especially the new “Maritime Silk Road” to link economies and build new infrastructure for the 21st century.
The New Zealand China Council will be represented at the Belt and Road Forum taking place in Beijing in May.
New Zealand may not be among the largest of China’s friends, but we have a reputation as a highly innovative and successful developed economy.
We are certainly able to assist with developing new ideas for business and economic co-operation.
That’s why your visit to New Zealand is so important.
By coming here you will have the opportunity to share business ideas and develop new projects.
This will help us work together to build a strong and resilient relationship between our two countries well into the future.
This year China and New Zealand are celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations and 90 years since the famous New Zealander Rewi Alley arrived in China.
Our relations took another major step forward with Premier Li Keqiang’s visit.
These are good times for China and New Zealand, working closely together for mutual benefit on the world stage.
The New Zealand China Council is delighted to welcome you to New Zealand and to this city of Auckland today.