New Zealand Embassy Beijing, China

New Zealand and China

New Zealand and China celebrated 35 years of diplomatic relations on 22 December 2007. 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 second-largest trading partner, and a major source of migrants, students and tourists, China is important to New Zealand as a bilateral, regional and multilateral partner.

The China-New Zealand 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. During Premier Wen Jiabao’s April 2006 visit to New Zealand, an agreement to hold annual leaders’ meetings was reached. This year, Prime Minister John Key visited China in April – his first bilateral visit to Asia. Prime Minister Key met Premier Wen again at the East Asia summit leaders meeting in October, and in November, Vice Premier Li Keqiang made a bilateral visit to New Zealand.

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 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. New Zealand is 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, and is projected to lift New Zealand’s export revenue from trade with China by between NZ$225-$350 million per year. 

New Zealand is careful to abide by its undertaking to China in our joint communiqué of 1972 to refrain from official dealings with Taiwan. While faithful to its one China policy, New Zealand maintains economic and cultural ties with Taiwan, an important trade and economic partner.

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