Upgrade to New Zealand’s FTA with China effective April 7, 2022

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New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19 continues to gain momentum, with the entry into force of New Zealand’s upgraded Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the China on April 7, 2022, Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor announced today.

Aotearoa New Zealand and China have now ratified the upgrade protocol and agreed on the effective date, the final step after signing the FTA upgrade in January 2021.

“This upgrade is an important milestone for us and part of a package of work we are carrying out to drive our economic recovery post-COVID,” said Damien O’Connor.

“Our trade program has very good momentum, with our primary industry exports expected to reach a record $50 billion this year alone.

“We will soon conclude our FTA negotiations with the UK, which will remove tariffs on our exports and create new opportunities for New Zealand businesses. Our free trade negotiations are progressing with the EU to access to a market of 450 million people. In January, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into effect. And then of course we have PACER Plus, which came into effect at the end of 2020,” said Damien O’Connor.

The effective date for the FTA upgrade with China was agreed during a virtual meeting last week between Damien O’Connor and his Chinese counterpart, Commerce Minister Wang Wentao.

“Exports of goods and services between China and New Zealand reached $20.1 billion in the year ending June 2021. New Zealand businesses will benefit from up-to-date rules that underpin our trade. This upgrade modernizes the 2008 FTA between New Zealand and China remains fit for purpose,” said Damien O’Connor.

“The upgrade also includes new market access commitments for goods and services and additional trade facilitation measures. On goods, the upgrade will bring further improvements to market access , which will result in duty-free access for 99% of New Zealand’s $4 billion timber and paper trade with China, once fully implemented.Our existing FTA will also be complemented by new chapters on e-commerce, competition policy, public procurement and the environment.

“Separately, from 1 January 2022, most New Zealand dairy products destined for China are granted duty-free access for the first time through the ongoing implementation of the existing FTA. will directly benefit many of New Zealand’s rural exporters to China, and is expected to result in additional savings of $180 million per year at current export volumes,” said Damien O’Connor.

(With contributions from the New Zealand government press release)

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