Go­ing higher

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHONGNAN zhongnan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and New Zealand will talk next year on up­grad­ing their bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment.

China and New Zealand have agreed to start first round talks to up­grade their bi­lat­eral free trade agree­ment in the first half of 2017, adding ser­vice trade, e-com­merce and agri­cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion, the Min­istry of Com­merce said on Mon­day.

Other is­sues in­clud­ing mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion poli­cies, trade tech­ni­cal bar­ri­ers, cus­toms pro­ce­dures, trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion mea­sures and rules of ori­gin will also be ne­go­ti­ated next year, the min­istry said in an on­line state­ment.

Ea­ger to fur­ther di­ver­sify their trade cat­e­gories, the gov­ern­ments of China and New Zealand es­tab­lished a joint eval­u­a­tion mech­a­nism in March 2015 to up­grade the cur­rent free trade deal.

The bi­lat­eral trade agree­ment was signed in 2008. It fo­cused on lib­er­al­iz­ing trade, and rel­a­tively lit­tle at­ten­tion was paid to ser­vices, im­prov­ing in­fras­truc­ture fa­cil­i­ties and in­vest­ment, and de­tails of trade pol­icy.

Up­grad­ing the agree­ment will help de­velop a mod­ern ser­vice sec­tor and in­crease fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries, said Zhang Jian­ping, di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion In­sti­tute of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

China is now New Zealand’s top trad­ing part­ner. Bi­lat­eral trade was worth $12.82 bil­lion in 2015, up 1.2 per­cent on a year-on-year ba­sis, ac­cord­ing to the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

Un­like free trade agree­ments be­tween China and Aus­tralia and China and South Korea signed in 2015, Zhang said the ex­ist­ing China-New Zealand FTA lacks “ad­vanced ar­ti­cles” on ser­vices and in­vest­ment.

In ad­di­tion, ex­ports from New Zealand ac­count for 70 per­cent of China’s dairy im­ports, and China now stands to ben­e­fit from the China-Aus­tralia free trade agree­ment by get­ting cheaper prod­ucts in the same cat­e­gory.

“Aus­tralia’s agri­cul­tural goods, such as beef, rice, wheat, wool and cot­ton, will not be levied with tar­iffs by Chi­nese cus­toms. This has fu­eled New Zealand’s en­thu­si­asm to up­grade its agree­ment with China,” said Zhang.

Liu Chenyang, a re­searcher at the APEC Study Cen­ter at Nankai University in Tian­jin, said New Zealand, there­fore, is keen to talk about dairy prod­ucts as part of the up­grade, and there are a num­ber of is­sues both sides will work through to­gether.

Tourism is an­other key area of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween New Zealand and Aus­tralia. One mil­lion Chi­nese peo­ple trav­eled to Aus­tralia as tourists in 2015, and 400,000 trav­eled to New Zealand, 42 per­cent more than the year be­fore, the China Na­tional Tourism Ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

“Struc­tural changes sim­i­lar to those be­ing made in China are also tak­ing place in New Zealand, as well as glob­ally,” said Liu.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.