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Free Trade Agreements & Dialogues

It has been a long time coming (we covered developments here in November 2006 [1]), but New Zealand recently become the first developed nation to sign a free trade agreement with China. CEP News reported:

“The pact will allow a limited number of Chinese workers to enter New Zealand in order to fill sectors experiencing labour shortages. The deal limits the number of workers to 1,800 at one time and to no more than 100 per sector.

In exchange, Kiwi products that currently face tariffs of up to 5% will see a phased reduction of those taxes within 12 years. Tariffs removal is thought to be of significant advantage to New Zealand’s primary exports of dairy products and lamb.

China will in turn gain from the imports to meet its rising demand for such products which domestic farmers are struggling to meet. The deal takes effect Oct. 1, 2008 and has been in the works for more than three years. It came about following 15 rounds of negotiations between the two nations.

…Trade between China and New Zealand is currently valued at more than US$6.1 billion annually, with exports from China making up about 75% of that total, according to data from Statistics New Zealand. ”

Despite threats of protectionism from some quarters, China has re-iterated its desire for open trade. Xinhua, reporting on a meeting with the UK Chancellor, noted:

While there is no free trade agreement, the UK has been making progress in the bilateral relationship (report from Xinhua):

It will be interesting to see how that compares to the US-China Strategic Economic Dialogue [2]

See news sources: