Foreign and Military Affairs

New Zealand FM to visit China

Updated: 2010-03-19 13:23
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WELLINGTON - New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully leaves on Monday for his first official visit to China, where he will meet his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and other Chinese leaders.

"My visit will provide the opportunity for high-level discussion between China and New Zealand that is critical to maintaining our strong political and economic ties," McCully said in a statement on Friday.

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"New Zealand has a deserved reputation as a trailblazer with China, as the first country to agree to China's WTO accession and the first developed country to sign a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with them," he added.

He said New Zealand's exports to China grew by around 45 percent in 2009 - growth that was critical to New Zealand weathering the global recession, and to establishing China as New Zealand's second-largest trading partner after Australia.

While in China,  McCully will travel to Shanghai to visit the New Zealand Pavilion at Shanghai Expo and meet with the Shanghai city leadership.

He then flies to China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, where the focus will be on promotional activities for the 2011 Rugby World Cup that are taking place in and around Hong Kong.