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New Zealand, China agree to share agriculture knowledge


18:48, April 24, 2013

WELLINGTON, April 24 (Xinhua) -- China and New Zealand will expand their sharing of agriculture expertise and knowledge under a new bilateral agreement signed here Wednesday.

New Zealand Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and visiting Chinese Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu signed the Strategic Plan on Promoting Agricultural Cooperation in Wellington.

"This is an important agreement which will encourage cooperation and the sharing of knowledge to benefit both countries, " Guy said in a statement.

The plan set out areas in which both countries could learn from each other, such as animal welfare and science, increasing productivity, and building skills and knowledge.

"This document will further build on the strong relationship that our two countries share, particularly in the agricultural sector," said Guy.

Since the signing of the bilateral free trade agreement in 2008, New Zealand exports to China had almost tripled, from 2 billion NZ dollars (1.69 billion U.S. dollars) a year to 6.9 billion NZ dollars in 2012.

"Two-way trade between China and New Zealand has reached almost 15 billion NZ dollars. Our aim is to double bilateral trade to 20 billion NZ dollars by 2015 and we're on track to achieve that goal, " said Guy.

"The strategic plan will open wider the channels for cooperation, including between our industry organizations and companies," he added.

"There are already a number of business ventures between China and New Zealand in the primary sectors, with (dairy giant) Fonterra looking to expand its milking operations in China."

China was also keen to learn from New Zealand given its strong reputation for food safety and quality food products, according to Guy.

The agreement would run until 2017 and could be updated at any time.

Han's visit to New Zealand was believed to be the first by a Chinese Minister of Agriculture for over 30 years, and Guy would reciprocate later this year.

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