By Melissa Perkin

On 26 January 2021, China and New Zealand signed a deal to upgrade their existing free trade pact which will give commodities exports from New Zealand increased access to the world’s second-largest economy.

The upgrade has primarily focused on reducing compliance costs for New Zealand exporters, and other measures which ease access to China’s markets and removes nearly all remaining tariffs in the countries’ $23 billion annual trade, while opening up new areas of investment. Some of the key points:

  • Tariff-free access for about 99% of New Zealand’s nearly NZ$3 billion ($2.15 billion) wood and paper trade to China.
  • New Zealand dairy exports to China will also be tariff-free by 2024.
  • New Zealand will increase visa quotas for Chinese language teachers and tour guides.
  • Environmental considerations have been included in the upgrade.
  • China has agreed to open-up to more New Zealand investors in areas such as aviation, education, finance, elderly care, and passenger transport.
  • The upgraded agreement will need to be ratified by the New Zealand parliament before implementation.

The pact has been discussed for years and was concluded in November 2019, but was pending China’s official signing.

Further information is available here.

The Author

Melissa Perkin


Melissa Perkin

Executive Director of the New Zealand Dispute Resolution Centre Group.


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