WELLINGTON, July 10 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand and China's Taiwan region on Wednesday signed an economic agreement which will boost trade between the two economies.
The Agreement between New Zealand and the separate Customs Territory of Taipei, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Cooperation (ANZTEC), was singed in Wellington by the directors of the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office, and the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office.
New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser said on Wednesday that signing of the ANZTEC will deliver real benefits to New Zealand exporters.
"This agreement will immediately eliminate the tariffs for over 70 percent of current exports to Chinese Taipei, and will eventually allow 100 percent of New Zealand goods to enter tariff- free," he said in a statement.
In addition to liberalizing goods trade, the ANZTEC provides enhanced access for services exporters, investors and business travelers. It also provides for cooperation on trade and labor, trade and environment issues, liberalizes trade for 132 environmental goods, and greatly enhances the connectedness of the two economies by encouraging better and more frequent air services, he added.
The ANZTEC agreement will be sent to New Zealand Parliament for examination, after which, subject to passing the necessary legislation, it should enter into force in 2014.
In 2012, Taiwan's exports to New Zealand amounted to 524 million U.S. dollars and its imports from New Zealand totaled 690 million U.S. dollars. Taiwan is New Zealand's 12th largest export market and 15th largest source of imports.
New Zealand was Taiwan's eighth largest source of agricultural imports in 2012, and Taiwan ran a 600 million U.S. dollars agricultural trade deficit with New Zealand last year.
BusinessNZ on Wednesday welcomed the signing the economic cooperation agreement. BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O'Reilly said this new agreement is an example of how the world is moving toward a more modern approach to trade.
"Both the New Zealand and Taiwanese economies will benefit from having tariffs lifted. This will happen relatively quickly, with 98 percent being eliminated within the next four years, and full duty-free trade being achieved within 12 years," he said in a statement.
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