Signals that New Zealand could secure a better deal on its Free Trade Agreement with China is a "beacon of hope" for our dairy industry, said the head of an export association.
Prime Minister John Key said he has come away from a meeting with the Chinese President in Beijing more confident this country will get a better deal on the FTA. 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 had anticipated.
He said the Chinese leader appreciated the work Fonterra had done in his country, including investing well over $1 billion in China, and creating more than 1600 jobs.
The Government signalled last year that it was hoping to renegotiate the deal after the Asian superpower signed a more generous agreement with Australia.
ExportNZ & ManufacturingNZ executive director Catherine Beard told the Herald the signs were "very encouraging" particularly given the low commodity prices which farmers are weathering.
"We've been hitting quotas for dairy in China earlier and earlier each year so this is going to be a big beacon of hope," Beard said.
Beard didn't think the extension to the FTA should be too complicated.
"Where there's goodwill these things can happen and one would hope if there's political will at the highest level in China it wouldn't take too long," she said.