The next round of talks on the upgrade of the Free Trade Agreement with China will take place next month, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has confirmed.
Peters returns this evening from a three-day visit to China, where he had a number of high-level meetings including with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
Peters also met Politburo member and former foreign affairs minister Yang Jiechi and the Minister of the Communist Party International Department Song Tao.
"Our discussions were wide-ranging, covering all aspects of our bilateral relationship. We reviewed the ongoing growth of our trade and economic relationship, and we were pleased to confirm dates for the next round of our FTA upgrade discussions, which will take place next month," Peters said in a statement.
Trade Minister David Parker told the China Business Summit earlier this month that the next round of negotiations would focus on issues like e-commerce and service sector exports, which had grown substantially in significance since the original FTA was signed in 2008.
"A successful FTA upgrade would bring obvious commercial benefits to a number of New Zealand businesses," he said.
The upgrade could also demonstrate a shared commitment to free trade and a rejection of protectionism, Parker said.
Talks to upgrade the China FTA began under the previous National government.
The agreement has seen two-way trade triple to $22 billion since it came into force in 2008.
The upgrade aims to modernise the FTA and make improvements that further free up trade for goods and services to help exporters reach $30b in two-way trade by 2020 — the target set by leaders in 2014.
In other issues that came up during his China visit, Peters said peace and security in the Asia-Pacific, including North Korea, were discussed.
"We talked at length about recent developments in North Korea and resolved to stay in close touch as we continue to encourage all parties to find a path to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula, including through the North complying with all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions," he said.
Peters said there was also a "useful exchange" on climate change and there would be further high-level exchanges on the issue.