Prime Minister John Key came away from a meeting with the Chinese President in Beijing confident New Zealand will get a better deal on the Free Trade Agreement.
The New Zealand and Chinese trade ministers will sit down at APEC later this year to negotiate and Key admitted President Xi Jinping was more positive than he'd anticipated.
He said the Chinese leader appreciated the work Fonterra has done in his country, including investing well over $1 billion in China, and creating more than 1600 jobs.
"The good news is that [tariffs] go away by 2022, or 2024... and we're free to sell whatever we like tariff free. What we're trying to do is bring that forward by a couple of years," Key told Newstalk ZB.
The Prime Minister also discussed the likelihood of an extradition treaty with China.
China wants up to 60 of its nationals deported from New Zealand, to face charges of spiriting millions of dollars out of the country - money they'd obtained illegally.
Key said it was not a pre-condition of China agreeing to upgrade the FTA, but it was an issue the Chinese President was determined to pursue.
Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking interviews John Key
Key said he was convinced the Chinese would keep to their word that a corrupt person extradited from New Zealand won't be executed or tortured.
As part of the discussions overnight New Zealand's second largest meat exporter entered into a formal arrangement with a big Chinese meat processor and retailer with a view to increase exports to that country.
Alliance chief executive David Surveyor said his company had worked with Grand Farm for 17 years, and this step would hopefully see a higher volume of meat entering the market.