BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — A protocol on upgrading the free trade agreement (FTA) between China and New Zealand will come into force on April 7, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and his New Zealand counterpart Damien O’Connor held talks via video recently, jointly announcing the date for the protocol’s entry into force, said a statement on the MOC’s website.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand. The two sides have agreed to take it as an opportunity to promote the sound implementation of the upgraded FTA, said the statement.
Joint efforts will be made to further facilitate trade and investment between the two sides, and promote the development of bilateral economic and trade relations to benefit the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership, it said.
In 2008, China signed an FTA with New Zealand, the first FTA between China and a developed country. The two sides announced the conclusion of their three-year negotiations on the upgrade in November 2019 and signed a protocol in January 2021.
For the trade of goods, the upgraded FTA will see both countries open their markets for certain wood and paper products and optimize trade rules such as rules of origin, technical barriers to trade and customs facilitation.
On the basis of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China will further expand its opening-up in sectors including aviation, education, finance, elderly care, and passenger transport to New Zealand to boost the trade of services.
The two sides have also pledged to strengthen cooperation in the fields of e-commerce, competition policy, government procurement, the environment and trade, according to the protocol.