China, NZ announce FTA upgrade
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China and New Zealand on Monday officially declared an upgrade to their free trade agreement (FTA) after three-year negotiations.

The new deal is expected to benfit both countries by providing more convenience to customs procedures and rules of origin, and fewer technical barriers to trade. Besides, e-commerce, environment and trade, competition policies as well as government procurement were newly added into the aggrement. New commitments on market access to services and goods, as well as the people exchanges and investment have also been made.

“This ensures that our upgraded FTA will remain the best China has with any country,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a statement issued after her meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Thailand at the East Asia Summit on Monday.

New Zealand was the first developed country to sign an FTA with China in 2008. Since then, bilateral trade has grown faster than expected, and the FTA has served as a catalyst for deepening bilateral economic and trade relations and cooperation in various fields.

Negotiations to upgrade the FTA began in November 2016 to keep pace with the trade ties and further promote regional economic integration. The upgrade is expected to secure the two countries' commitment and support to a free and open trade as well as a rule-based multilateral trading system.

(Compiled by Shan Xin)