Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor speaks at a press conference on the upgraded FTA between China and New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand on Jan. 26, 2021. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
WELLINGTON – The Upgrade to New Zealand's Free Trade Agreement with China entered into force on Thursday, further accelerating New Zealand's economic recovery from COVID-19, said a New Zealand senior trade official.
"China continues to be an important market for New Zealand, with goods and services exports reaching 21.5 billion NZ dollars ($14.83 billion) in 2021," Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O'Connor said in a statement.
Customs red tape will also be cut, with the introduction of a faster six-hour clearance time for perishable goods, which will hugely benefit businesses such as our seafood exporters
Damien O'Connor, Trade and Export Growth Minister
This Upgrade is very good news for New Zealand's forestry sector, which exported 4 billion NZ dollars of product to China last year, he said.
The elimination of tariffs on an additional 12 wood and paper products means 99 percent of wood and paper trade to China will be tariff-free, removing an additional 1.5 million NZ dollars in tariffs, on top of those already delivered through the 2008 FTA, O'Connor said.
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"Customs red tape will also be cut, with the introduction of a faster six-hour clearance time for perishable goods, which will hugely benefit businesses such as our seafood exporters," he said.
New Zealand's service exporters will benefit from improved access to China's services market, including environmental services, airport and ground handling services, as well as commitments to deliver New Zealand any future improvements in key services sectors including education, said the minister.
"The upgrade also modernizes other key aspects of the original agreement including in the areas of e-commerce, government procurement, environment and trade, and competition," he said.
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In addition to the upgrade, as of Jan 1, 2022, most dairy products exported to China are entitled to duty-free access, immediately saving businesses 200 million NZ dollars in tariffs. Remaining costs will be removed in 2024, O'Connor said.