New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China

New Zealand and China

In 2012 New Zealand and China celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations.  In that time the bilateral relationship has grown to become one of New Zealand’s most valuable and important. As a global and regional power, New Zealand’s largest trading partner for goods, and a major source of migrants, students and tourists, China is important to New Zealand as a bilateral, regional and multilateral partner.

The New Zealand-China relationship is characterised by regular high-level contacts, an expanding range of official dialogues - both formal and informal, healthy and diversifying trade and economic flows in both directions, and strengthening people-to-people contacts.  The relationship is marked by frequent high level visits including visits to New Zealand by President Jiang Zemin (1999), President Hu Jintao (2003), and President Xi Jinping (2014).  New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has visited China five times as Prime Minister.  Prime Minister Key and President Xi recently revised the bilateral trade target to NZ$30 billion by 2020 (replacing the previous target of NZ$20 billion by 2015) and during President Xi’s 2014 visit the relationship was described as a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Foreign policy talks, and economic and trade talks, between New Zealand and Chinese officials have expanded over the years and are held regularly. There are formal bilateral dialogues on sanitary and phytosanitary issues, agriculture, dairy and forestry. There is also regular contact on a wide range of issues including defence, law and governance, human rights, multilateral trade, regional security, international fisheries management, and development assistance.

The Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and China entered into force on 1 October 2008 and saw New Zealand become the first developed country to conclude an FTA with China. Over time the FTA will result in the elimination of tariffs on 96% of New Zealand exports to China. 

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