New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said Saturday it was a strategic decision of her government to engage in a free trade agreement (FTA) with China.
In a keynote speech at the annual Labor Party Congress held in Wellington, Clark said the New Zealand-China FTA, signed on April 7 in Beijing, is huge for New Zealand and it is one of the most important trade deals to be done anywhere in the world this year.
She said the whole FTA package was of great significance to New Zealand. China is New Zealand's third largest trade partner and it is a huge and fast growing economy.
"The FTA we have signed removed tariffs on 96 percent of our goods going into China over time. That's estimated to benefit us by 180 million U.S. dollars to 280 million dollars a year," Clark told some 600 Labor delegates.
She also encouraged New Zealand environmental technology and services companies to take advantage of the FTA to cooperate with China.
"It is in all our interests that China is involved in rules-based multilateralism," Clark said." The commitment China has made to New Zealand, and in its World Trade Organization accession agreement, shows that it is serious about that too."