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Agreements to boost bilateral relations

(China Daily)

08:44, April 11, 2013

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key (R) inspects guard of honour with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a welcome ceremony outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, April 10, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

China and New Zealand will drive the growth of their business ties through new energy, agriculture, finance and high technology.

"China is pushing forward the transformation of its economic growth model, breaking the bottleneck in resources and environment, and aiming to launch an updated version of the Chinese economy," Premier Li Keqiang said during his meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in Beijing on Wednesday.

Six agreements were signed by the countries.

Li emphasized that measures to transform and upgrade the Chinese economy will be done in an open way.

"The two countries are in good economic condition, and there is immense room to enhance cooperation in cutting energy emissions and boosting clean energy, as New Zealand is very strong in developing green economy," Li said.

Two-way trade reached NZ$14.2 billion ($12.14 billion) in 2012.

Strong China-New Zealand relations are critical to New Zealand, and "we are committed to strengthening cooperation in agriculture and animal husbandry, finance, food safety, investment and education", Li said.

Key recently led a delegation to China to promote economic and trade relations.

China and New Zealand signed a free trade agreement in April 2008 that came into force in October that year. It was the first FTA that China signed with a developed economy.

The FTA has stimulated trade, particularly New Zealand exports to China, which surged to NZ$6.9 billion in 2012, up 16.6 percent from a year earlier.

China's shipments to New Zealand rose 3.89 percent year-on-year to NZ$7.3 billion.

China has become the second-largest destination for New Zealand's exports, after Australia.

President Xi Jinping and Key recently agreed to boost two-way trade to NZ$20 billion by the end of 2015 by further implementing and leveraging the FTA.

Li said the two countries should start direct trade in the yuan and New Zealand dollar, which would enhance cooperation in food processing and preservation.

New Zealand announced on Wednesday that independent Chinese visitors to New Zealand can apply for longer stays — from 12 months to 24 months — to better meet the demand of the Chinese market, the most rapidly growing tourism market for New Zealand and the second-largest source of visitors.

New Zealand statistics showed that more than 200,000 Chinese visitors traveled there in the past year, up 38 percent from the previous year. They spent around $555 million.

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