Sino-New Zealand FTA boosts bilateral ties
Updated: 2016-01-23 19:45
By Peng Chao in Chengdu(chinadaily.com.cn)
The free trade agreement signed between China and New Zealand in 2008 has greatly boosted the bilateral ties, according to John McKinnon, New Zealand Ambassador to China.
"Ten years ago, I didn't expect the progress to be so great and made so fast," said McKinnon, who was New Zealand Ambassador to China from 2001 to 2004.
The Sino-New Zealand FTA is the first FTA the Chinese government signed with a developed country. Since signing the FTA, New Zealand's exports to China surged from $2 billion NZ to $8.36 billion NZ in the year ending September, 2015, according to the New Zealand Consulate-General in Chengdu.
China is now the second largest export destination to New Zealand, only 0.76 percent (NZ$64.26 million) behind New Zealand's exports to Australia.
An increasing number of Chinese companies are investing in New Zealand, including China's dairy giants Mengniu Dairy Group Co, Yili Industrial Group Co, Bright Dairy & Food Co, and infrastructure company Beijing Capital Group.
McKinnon said more New Zealand companies are investing in China.
"It is widely believed among New Zealand companies and organizations that if they want to explore the overseas market, they have to take China into first consideration," McKinnon said.
The number of Chinese tourists in New Zealand has seen rapid rise in recent years. China is the second largest source of New Zealand's overseas tourists following Australia.
A total of 345,000 Chinese visited New Zealand from Dec 2014 to Nov 2015, 75 percent of which are tourists, according to New Zealand Consulate-General in Chengdu.
Considering the increasing, McKinnon expects the number of Chinese tourists to catch up with those of Australia within five years.