19 May 2016

McClay discusses trade deal updgrade with China

1:00 pm on 19 May 2016

China remains committed to improving the free trade agreement with New Zealand, says Trade Minister Todd McClay

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Todd McClay Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr McClay has met with the Asian nation's Commerce and Trade Vice-Minister to discuss to an upgrade to the trade deal, which has been in place since 2008.

During the 40-minute meeting on the sidelines of APEC talks in Peru, Mr McClay said he set out New Zealand's expectations, which included reducing dairy tariffs and removing technical barriers to trade in China.

He said they discussed timeframes for when a new trade agreement might be launched and its scope.

"I've indicated that this isn't just about one commodity, it is about finding ways to grow the relationship," Mr McClay said.

"Probably the issue that's raised with me most by New Zealand exporters, around exports to all countries of the world, is barriers to getting goods into market quickly, that don't have anything to do with tariff rates."

Mr McClay said the Vice-Minister did not lay out what China would like to see in the deal, but he did indicate it could include changes to New Zealand work visas.

Mr McClay said he had been invited to the G20 meeting in China in July, to continue talks on the upgrade.

He said it was still too early to say when formal negotiations would start.

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