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New Zealand, China Customs ministers discuss trade clearance improvements


14:52, June 07, 2013

WELLINGTON, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Customs ministers from New Zealand and China have been discussing ways to enable the speedier clearance of traded goods through their borders, New Zealand Customs Minister Maurice Williamson revealed Friday.

Williamson said talks with visiting China Customs Vice Minister Lu Bin had focused on their commitment to achieving the full benefits of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which was signed in 2008.

Lu was also head of the General Administration of China Customs sub-administration in south China's Guangdong Province, which was a key port of entry and trade market for New Zealand, Williamson said.

"The overall aim is to make trade and compliance easier, and work is in progress to explore solutions that will benefit traders as well as the two Customs administrations," Williamson said in a statement.

China Customs would next month pilot new procedures to clear New Zealand goods held in bonded storage and declared for part release into the domestic market.

"This will allow importers to receive a lower preferential tariff rate for the whole shipment, giving them the full benefits of the FTA. Initiatives such as this are aimed at contributing towards the government's goal of doubling our trade with China by 2015," said Williamson.

Another area of focus was the cooperation in fighting the smuggling of precursor drugs used to make methamphetamine.

"Both administrations share information and intelligence, and have recently undertaken officer exchange programs. There is also opportunity for future joint activity," he said.

Recent work by China to clarify the criminal nature of the illicit methamphetamine precursor drug trade had assisted enforcement agencies in identifying offences and undertaking investigations, he said.

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