Businesses from China, New Zealand eye greater cooperation, as FM's trip boosts ties
Published: Mar 24, 2023 11:22 PM
China-New Zealand photo:VCG

China-New Zealand photo:VCG

China regards New Zealand as an important cooperative partner and has full confidence in the certainty and stability of China-New Zealand relations, Wang Yi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee said on Friday.

China and New Zealand should enhance mutual trust, achieve win-win results, inject new connotations of the times into bilateral relations, and bring practical cooperation to a new level, Wang added.

Wang made the remarks when meeting Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who is visiting China from Wednesday to Friday at the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang.

It is the first such visit by a New Zealand minister since the pandemic.

Mahuta said that New Zealand looks forward to strengthening high-level exchanges with China, deepening cooperation in various fields, creating more "firsts," and building a more mature New Zealand-China relationship in the next 50 years.

Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Business leaders from China and New Zealand said bilateral trade still has much room for progress and vowed greater cooperation, as a trip by New Zealand's foreign minister to China is set to further elevate bilateral ties.

New Zealand businesses will be glad our country's foreign minister is putting priority post-COVID on China, Simon Bridges, chief executive of the Auckland Business Chamber, told the Global Times. He added that while the relationship with China is much broader than being merely economic, it is always worth being cognizant that China is New Zealand's number one trading partner and export market.

"In terms of the substance of what the Minister covers, businesses will want to know she's continuing to ensure meaningful dialogue and understanding between herself and her counterpart and officials in both countries so that the lines of communication remain as strong today as they have been in recent years," Bridges added. 

Before Mahuta's trip, New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins urged his nation's exporters not to rely so heavily on China, saying it's important for them to diversify in an uncertain world, according to Bloomberg. 

"My message to Kiwi exporters is yes, we do want to make sure that you're not putting all your eggs in one basket, that you are diversifying," Hipkins told reporters Tuesday in Wellington, according to the report. 

The remarks have been hyped up by some foreign media, as the US continues its push for "decoupling" from China and has been seeking to undermine what has been steady development in China-New Zealand ties.

"In past years, from former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to the current Prime Minister, there has been such talk emphasizing trade diversification, but that shouldn't affect cooperation," Wang Jiazheng, chief representative of the Guangdong Economic and Trade Representative Office in New Zealand, told the Global Times. 

"Global trade is diversified and multi-dimensional. Whether it is a New Zealand company or a Chinese company, going overseas will not have just one single goal, but will also seek to expand business maps and find more chances," Wang Jiazheng said. 

China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, and with China lifting travel restrictions, bilateral trade will have more room for development, which will lift New Zealand's economy, Wang Jiazheng noted.

Wang Yi also said the two sides should make good use of the upgraded China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to upgrade economic and trade cooperation, jointly build new growth engines, maintain stable and unimpeded production and supply chains, and maintain a fair and open trade and investment environment.

New Zealand is a country that has a great deal of respect for the market economy, and also attaches great importance to the balance of interests and risks. The establishment of trade relations also respects the principles of the market economy, Zhou Mi, deputy director of the Institute of American and Oceania Studies of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times.

It is believed that New Zealand's government will continue to adhere to a free and open attitude and continue to obtain stable economic benefits from China, Zhou added. 

Data from the ministry of commerce showed that China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, accounting for about 30 percent of its foreign exports of goods and services. The year-on-year growth of bilateral trade in goods was 12.8 percent in the first 10 months of last year. 

A protocol on upgrading the free trade agreement between China and New Zealand took effect in April of last year, aiming to further facilitate bilateral trade and investment. The two sides will further open the markets for goods, services and investment while optimizing rules to promote trade facilitation, according to the protocol.

China's recently ended two sessions have shown the world its determination to be more open, which will boost the determination of entrepreneurs from the two countries to cooperate, Wang Jiazheng said.