NZ-China trade deal said 2 years away
10 July 2007
WELLINGTON, New Zealand. New Zealand hopes to wrap up a comprehensive free trade agreement with China by mid-2009 — a year later than scheduled — Prime Minister Helen Clark said Tuesday. "We aim to conclude a high-quality and comprehensive FTA within two years," she said in a speech to the Action Asia Business Summit in the northern city of Auckland. "I am optimistic that we can achieve this objective, notwithstanding some crucial issues yet to be resolved." She did not elaborate on the issues remaining to be resolved, but they are expected to relate to trade in services, ranging from banking and insurance to professional services. The two nations began negotiations in Beijing on July 6, 2004 and Clark and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao previously said they hoped to conclude talks by next April. New Zealand, the first western nation to acknowledge China as a market economy, was chosen by China as the first advanced economy to enter talks for a comprehensive FTA with the emerging Asian giant.