The upgrade provides better conditions for services exporters, improved market access for goods, a reduction in other barriers affecting NZ exports and new areas of cooperation, amongst other things.

Better conditions for services exporters 

The upgraded agreement will improve New Zealand access into China’s services market. The improvements include new market access in a number of service sectors, including:

  • Environmental services
  • Airport operation services
  • Speciality air services
  • Ground handling services
  • Audio visual services.

The upgraded agreement expands market access in the following service sector commitments in the existing free trade agreement:

  • Real estate services
  • Translation and interpretation
  • Other education services
  • Advertising services and more.

The upgrade also protects our exporters’ future competitive positioning by allowing them to automatically benefit should China make new commitments to other countries in specific service sectors.

New Zealand and China have also agreed to negotiate to further simplify services commitments in future.

Improved goods market access

The upgrade provides further market access improvements on a number of New Zealand wood and paper products.

New Zealand has secured tariff elimination, over a 10 year implementation period, on 12 wood and paper products. Once fully implemented, it will mean that 99% of New Zealand’s $3 billion wood and paper trade to China will receive tariff-free access.

The upgraded agreement improves transparency for wood and paper products benefitting from tariff liberalisation as a result of forward looking commitments in the existing free trade agreement. Since the existing FTA entered into force in 2008, China has eliminated or reduced tariffs on 75 wood and paper tariff lines for New Zealand products, as a result of this provision, with an additional 14 tariff lines still pending.

Reduced barriers for New Zealand exports    

The upgraded agreement includes a number of improvements to facilitate the free flow of trade in goods. These improvements in customs procedures and requirements address many issues identified by New Zealand exporters as barriers to trade in exporting to China.

They improve transparency and reduce red tape in areas such as certificates of origin (introducing the option for ‘approved exporters’ to self-declare the origin of their goods) and goods in transit (through simplifying processes and highlighting alternatives to ‘certificates of non-manipulation’).

Further operational improvements cover procedures for handling ’perishable goods’ like fresh seafood (introducing expedited six-hour clearance times, release of such goods outside normal business hours and appropriate storage) as well as an extension of the scope of advance rulings in the existing free trade agreement.

The upgrade will also make labelling easier for exporters and enable discussions on updating the Electrical and Electronic Equipment Mutual Recognition Agreement (EEEMRA) in the existing agreement.

There is also provision to improve current mechanisms for cooperation, particularly on non-tariff barriers impacting trade.

New areas of cooperation

Trade rules and business practices have changed significantly over the last decade. To reflect these changes and further facilitate trade, new chapters have been added on competition policy, e-commerce, government procurement and environment and trade. Each of these chapters contains a number of trade commitments as well as mechanisms to facilitate dialogue and cooperation on emerging issues of importance to both sides.

Summary of outcomes

A summary of the outcomes of the negotiations to upgrade the New Zealand-China free trade agreement is available here.