No assurances but Premier Li upbeat over Free trade agreement

Although John Key got no assurance that China would renegotiate, he said he wouldn't expect to get one at this point. Photo / Getty Images
Although John Key got no assurance that China would renegotiate, he said he wouldn't expect to get one at this point. Photo / Getty Images

China Daily reports that China and New Zealand will increase agricultural co-operation and upgrade their free trade agreement to further cut tariffs and boost exchanges.

Under a story headlined 'China, NZ envision broader FTA' it quotes Chinese Premier Li Keqiang saying China will work to expand trade within the framework of the FTA and create conditions to begin negotiations on broadening the agreement.

Li also said that China will expand co-operation with its Oceanian partner in whole industrial chains of agricultural and animal husbandry investments, food safety and other areas.

Li's comments came after a meeting with Prime Minister John Key at the Great Hall of the People. The Herald reported that Key earlier told reporters he had had no assurance from China on an FTA upgrade.

The Government signalled last year that it was hoping to renegotiate the deal after the Asian superpower signed a more generous agreement with Australia.

As part of his visit to the world's second largest economy, the Prime Minister met the Chinese Premier for what he said was a "warm and engaging" discussion.

Although Key got no assurance that China would renegotiate, he said he would not expect to get one at this point.

"I didn't expect to come here today and for them to say, 'Yes, we're definitely doing it'," he said.

"In terms of a formal renegotiation of the FTA ... I think that's possible but there's more work to be done."

Key said he specifically raised Australia's more favourable access to Chinese dairy markets with the Premier.

"[China's] argument is that of course dairy's not that significant to Australia - their main focus actually is minerals into China and to some degree, meat," Key said.

"That may well be the case but they've still got on the face of it what looks like better access than us."

New Zealand and China were making good progress on some areas outside the FTA such as meat access, he said.

- NZ Herald

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