The Chinese embassy in New Zealand said on Tuesday that the free trade agreement between the two countries has been fully implemented, boosting bilateral trade and benefiting the two peoples.
As part of the China-New Zealand FTA, with the special safeguard measures on milk powder removed as of January 1, 2024, all New Zealand dairy products can now enter China duty-free and quota-free, said the spokesperson for the embassy in a statement.
"This marks China's faithful fulfillment of its commitments of tariff elimination under the FTA, as well as the full implementation of the China-New Zealand FTA," read the statement.
The successful implementation of the FTA serves as a good example of mutual benefits and cooperation between the two sides in the spirit of "striving to be the first," it added.
China signed the FTA with New Zealand in April 2008, and it went into force in October that same year. It was China's first comprehensive bilateral FTA covering trade in goods, services and investment.
Based on the success of the FTA, China and New Zealand started negotiating upgrading the FTA in November 2016 and signed the Upgrade Protocol on January 26, 2021. The Upgrade to the China-New Zealand FTA took effect on April 7, 2022.
Since it was signed and entered into force in 2008, the FTA, as a propeller for bilateral trade, has underpinned economic cooperation between the two countries and brought tangible benefits to the two peoples, said the statement.
Total trade in goods between China and New Zealand increased from $4.4 billion in 2008 to $25.4 billion in 2022, growing at an average annual rate of 13 percent. Meanwhile, New Zealand's exports to China have shown an average annual growth rate of 17 percent, according to the statement.
For more than 10 years since, China has been New Zealand's largest trading partner, export destination, and import source, it added.
It was a world first for any developed country to sign a bilateral FTA with China. New Zealand's economy and enterprises have fully enjoyed the opportunities and dividends generated by the FTA, according to the statement.
By using the preferential treatment of the FTA as a unique competitive advantage, New Zealand businesses have striven for the strenuous cultivation of the Chinese market and built a well-established branding image, it said, adding that New Zealand products have gained more popularity among Chinese consumers as a result.
"The huge Chinese market has also brought enormous trade, economic and job opportunities for New Zealand, while quality products made, assembled or produced in China at affordable prices have played an important role in keeping a lid on the cost of living for Kiwis," read the statement.
With all of New Zealand's dairy products now able to enter China duty-free, it is expected that the move will inject new impetus into the bilateral practical economic and trade cooperation, it added.
Noting that the year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between China and New Zealand, the statement said China stands ready to join hand in hand with New Zealand and take this opportunity to tap into the potential of bilateral cooperation with mutual benefits.
The two countries could continue to make the most of preferential measures under the FTA and its upgrade, set off for negotiating on the "negative list" approach on services under the FTA, and further promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, said the statement.
"China remains committed to working with New Zealand to make the pie of common interests bigger and to bring greater benefits to the two peoples."
(Cover: A file photo of the Auckland port in New Zealand. /Xinhua)