China and New Zealand officially signed their free trade agreement (FTA) upgrade on January 26.
Represented respectively by Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao and New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor, the two countries inked the deal via video link.
The upgrade broadens market access for wood and paper products, and makes improvements to customs procedures and cooperation, rules of origin and technical barriers to trade.
The upgraded FTA also adds new chapters on e-commerce, environment and trade, competition policy and government procurement.
New Zealand has reduced investment barriers for Chinese investors, confirming it will grant Chinese-funded companies the same review threshold treatment as members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
It has also doubled the quota for Chinese Mandarin teachers and Chinese tour guides working in the country, to 300 and 200 respectively.
China has further expanded market access in some service industries including education, finance and senior care, compared with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signed last November by 15 countries including China and New Zealand.
China sees the FTA upgrade as the most recent achievement under its goal of building a high-standard free trade area network with global reach, and will contribute to forming the dual-circulation development paradigm, according to its ministry.
The upgrade also has deepened cooperation between the two counties in multiple sectors, benefiting their people and enterprises, as well as sent a positive signal that the two countries will work together to cope with the challenge of the pandemic, support multilateralism and free trade, and contribute to the stable recovery of the global economy, it said.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK