WELLINGTON, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wang Xiaolong has said the upgraded Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will bring a brighter shared future to both countries.
Wang, in a news letter released on Thursday, said this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand. The FTA and the protocol on its upgrade, which goes into force on April 7, 2022, means the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries stepping to a higher level.
Wang said the implementation of the Upgraded FTA not only further demonstrates the vitality, resilience and potential of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, but also showcases the common commitment to working together in support of multilateralism and free trade.
"Joint efforts on both sides culminated in the establishment of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2014, delivering tangible and increasing benefits to both peoples and setting a prime example of win-win cooperation between countries of different sizes, national conditions and social systems," Wang said.
Wang said China currently is New Zealand's largest trading partner, accounting for nearly 30 percent of New Zealand's total exports of goods and services, and the largest buyer of Kiwi dairy, meat, wood and fruits.
Under the FTA, New Zealand liberalized 100 percent of tariff lines and China liberalized 97 percent of tariff lines, which helped to drive the two-way trade in goods to a record level in 2021, growing at an average annual rate of 11 percent since the implementation of bilateral FTA in 2008, the ambassador said.
The Upgrade Protocol further improves access to the Chinese market for New Zealand exporters. Upon its entry into force, China opens its market for New Zealand wood and paper products, with 99 percent of New Zealand's wood and paper trade to China receiving tariff-free access at the end of the transition period, he said, adding that the introduction of 21st century trade issues such as e-Commerce and Environment and Trade builds new avenues for holding dialogue and deepening cooperation.
"As New Zealand products make their way into millions of Chinese households, China's strong consumer demand has become a key driver of New Zealand's export earnings and a major contributor to trade-related jobs for the local communities," said the ambassador.
"The Upgrade Protocol further improves access to the Chinese market for New Zealand exporters and reflects the new trends of trade and business models between the two countries," Wang said. ■