18 Jun 2010

Key bullish about Chinese trade prospects

9:47 pm on 18 June 2010

The Prime Minister says trade opportunities between New Zealand and China are almost limitless, as China continues to demand more products from exporters here.

Speaking after talks with Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, John Key said New Zealanders are becoming increasingly comfortable about the developing trade and cultural relationship between the two countries.

There are always concerns surrounding foreign ownership, he says, but they're about the wider issue of land ownership and not specifically about China.

The Prime Minister says there is no reason why New Zealand should not welcome investment from any country.

Product safety standards pact

A product safety agreement with China was signed on Friday morning at Government House in Auckland.

Under the agreement, there will be increased co-operation between the two countries over product standards and unsafe products will be able to be traced back to their source.

Mr Key says China had indicated it wanted to lift food standards in the wake of the melamine food scandal with Sanlu in 2008.

He says China believes New Zealand leads the market in this area.

Several agreements signed

Mr Xi and Mr Key met for about an hour on Friday morning and signed several agreements, including an endorsement of bilateral progress on market access.

Earlier, Mr Xi addressed Chinese and New Zealand business leaders at a seminar and emphasised the need for the two countries to develop trade links further.

China and New Zealand signed a free trade agreement in 2008.

The trip is the latest of a series of contacts in recent years that include a visit by President Hu Jintao.