Business / Economy

Senior New Zealand minister to discuss FTA upgrade in China

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-18 14:12

WELLINGTON - New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce will be discussing an upgrade of the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) on his second visit to China next week.

Joyce said Friday he would meet with senior Chinese leaders and business contacts in Beijing to discuss China's economic reform agenda, the upgrade of the New Zealand-China FTA, and opportunities for strengthening two-way trade and investment.

Joyce, the fourth most senior minister in the New Zealand Cabinet, said in a statement he would also represent the government at the second New Zealand-China Partnership Forum in Beijing.

The forum, jointly organized by the New Zealand China Council and the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, would feature discussion among senior delegates from the two countries on a range of topical issues key to the bilateral relationship.

"The purpose of the forum is to showcase the deepening strategic economic and trade partnership between New Zealand and China," Joyce said.

"Participants from both countries, representing the public and private sectors, will explore the opportunities and challenges at the forefront of the relationship, and contribute to building the foundation for the relationship into the future," he said.

"It is important that New Zealand continues to be a visible and committed partner of choice for China, our second largest goods and services trading partner and a key contributor to New Zealand' s economic prosperity. The Partnership Forum will include sessions on food safety, tourism, investment, and people-to-people links."

He would also visit Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, and meet provincial leaders to discuss opportunities for greater education, tourism and science collaboration.

"Guangdong province is our largest source of Chinese students, a major source of tourists and a significant destination for New Zealand exports," Joyce said.

"China is also a key strategic science and innovation partner for New Zealand, and we are seeing increasing numbers of research collaborations between New Zealand researchers and their partners in Guangdong."

Earlier Friday, Associate Trade Minister Todd McClay said he would also be pressing for progress on an upgrade to the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement in Beijing next week.

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