Chinese relations are one of the most important and far-reaching: New Zealand trade minister

By Xie Wenting and Bai Yunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/27 13:48:40

Officials discussed promoting trade connectivity, transparency

David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand. Courtesy of the New Zealand Embassy in Beijing


China is a "valued partner" for New Zealand and it has been clear that China also values its relations with New Zealand, David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth of New Zealand, told the Global Times. 

Parker has just concluded his visit to Beijing this week to participate in the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

While relations between the two countries encountered turbulence recently due to some disagreements over Huawei, Parker stressed that the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership recognizes that the "China relationship is one of New Zealand's most important and far-reaching relationships." 

This time, Parker led a delegation of 17 high-level business leaders to Beijing, and the delegation represented the full range of New Zealand's goods and services trade with China, including companies active in tourism, air links, food and beverage, fashion, the creative sector and manufacturing.

According to Parker, as a small but developed country, New Zealand does not need to improve the infrastructure links that some other countries might do. "Therefore, our Belt and Road opportunities, from New Zealand's perspective, may differ from some other countries," he said. 

According to Parker, he has had a number of conversations about how the country should promote trade connectivity and support transparency during his visit.

He noted that New Zealand is an exporting nation that values free trade and connectivity. "We have a wealth of experience in supporting regional connectivity and integration and have been pleased to work with countries through forums like APEC on issues such as trade facilitation."

New Zealand was the first developed Western country that joined the BRI.

According to the Embassy of New Zealand, the New Zealand-China trade reached a new high of NZ$30 billion ($19 billion) in 2018, across goods and services. The latest figures show a big increase in exports to China in March, which reached NZ$1.5 billion. 

New Zealand is also one of China's top five sources of imported food, and China is New Zealand's largest source of imports.

Parker said he also had meetings with Chinese ministers on important issues, including discussions on tourism, international rules, the environment, climate change and the FTA upgrade negotiations. 

"The upgrade and modernization of the FTA remains a priority for us. There is potential to enhance our trade and economic ties further," he said. 

In 2008, New Zealand was the first developed country to sign an FTA with China.

"The next round of negotiations [on FTA upgrade] should be held soon with a view to completing the negotiations as soon as possible," said Parker. 

Newspaper headline: China a valued partner: NZ trade minister

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