China-New Zealand free trade talks to be renewed to expand accords

  Mar 29--NEW ZEALAND and China plan to begin negotiations next month to expand its nine-year-old free trade, it was revealed during a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

  New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English said the free trade agreement had resulted in trade between the countries tripling. New Zealand hopes that a renegotiated agreement would allow it to sell more dairy products to China, while China hopes to sell more goods in New Zealand and erase a small trade deficit, reported The Associated Press.

  The original deal imposes tariffs on certain New Zealand products sold in China after quotas are reached.

  "One of the issues from New Zealand's point of view is that the growth in trade has been so strong that some of the safeguard levels set back in 2008 are quite low levels, and the dairy industry has raised this issue with us," Mr English was quoted as saying.

  The countries announced several other agreements, including one that allows chilled New Zealand meat to be exported to China under a six-month trial. China already accepts frozen sheep and beef meat.

  "This agreement has the potential to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars for our farmers, exporters and the wider economy," said New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay in a statement.

  Other agreements include an increase in the maximum number of direct flights allowed between the countries, a joint climate action plan, and strengthened cooperation on China's "One Belt, One Road" programme.


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