Free trade com­mit­ment para­mount for New Zealand

China Daily (USA) - - 19th CPC NATIONAL CONGRESS - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

“THE WORDS CHINA HAS BEEN SAY­ING AND THE PRES­I­DENT HAS BEEN SAY­ING ARE AN IM­POR­TANT CON­TEXT THAT GIVES US CON­FI­DENCE . ... IT’S IN­TER­EST­ING TO SEE HOW THE PARTY CONGRESS SUMS IT UP AND WHAT IT MIGHT WANT TO DO IN TERMS OF TAK­ING THE WORK FOR­WARD.”

New Zealand ex­pects to see China’s con­tin­u­ous com­mit­ment to free trade and mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism at the 19th CPC Na­tional Congress this month, said John McKin­non, the coun­try’s am­bas­sador to China.

Given China’s po­si­tion in the global econ­omy, the sig­nals sent by the congress for the na­tion’s ap­proach to its own eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion as well as glob­ally will be of con­sid­er­able in­ter­est, McKin­non said.

“The congress pro­vides strong sense of di­rec­tion where it’s go­ing,” he added. a to

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s speech in Jan­uary at Davos in Switzer­land ad­vo­cated China’s com­mit­ment to mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and the im­por­tance of glob­al­ized trade, McKin­non said.

“That’s really im­por­tant for New Zealand,” he said. “We are an open econ­omy. We rely on the trad­ing sys­tem to be fair and eq­ui­table in terms of how to deal with dif­fer­ent coun­tries and dif­fer­ent mar­kets.”

China is New Zealand’s largest trad­ing part­ner for goods. The coun­tries signed a free trade agree­ment in 2008, and ne­go­ti­a­tions on up­grad­ing the doc­u­ment started in April.

“Now, both China and New Zealand have en­gaged in the ne­go­ti­a­tions. We want to make sure the agree­ment is fit for 2017 and 2018 as well,” he said. “The words China has been say­ing and the pres­i­dent has been say­ing are an im­por­tant con­text that gives us con­fi­dence.”

The am­bas­sador noted United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump will visit China shortly after the congress, in Novem­ber, and then meet­ings such as the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion fo­rum will be held in the re­gion.

“These will be oc­ca­sions shortly after the congress when what has been dis­cussed and con­cluded at the Party congress will be ad­dressed in­ter­na­tion­ally,” he said.

Mean­while, McKin­non is keep­ing a close eye on how China’s le­gal sys­tem works. In light of the ma­jor anti-cor­rup­tion cam­paign of the past few years, New Zealand is in­ter­ested in how China is gov­ern­ing it­self, he said.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing to see how the Party congress sums it up and what it might want to do in terms of tak­ing the work for­ward.”

The am­bas­sador said he will also be in­ter­ested to see how the congress ad­dresses the is­sue of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. China has changed its at­ti­tude and poli­cies and is fo­cused on im­prov­ing the qual­ity of air, wa­ter and soil.

In De­cem­ber, New Zealand will host the sec­ond New Zealand-China May­oral Fo­rum, the theme of which is how to bal­ance the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment.

“This is an area that we think about a lot in New Zealand, and we see China thinks about too,” McKin­non added. “That’s a ba­sis for some in­ter­est­ing ex­changes on how you deal with the fact that you want to grow the econ­omy and pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.” John McKin­non, New Zealand’s am­bas­sador to China

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