COMMENT:

New Zealand is doubling down on free trade, with Jacinda Ardern poised to herald an upgraded deal with China.

Ardern is also ready to carry the flag for New Zealand if it emerges as a member of a powerful new US$10.3 trillion ($16t) trading pact — RCEP — this coming week.

(That is as long as negotiators can keep India — one of 16 expected signatories to RCEP — to stay through to the finish line.)

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Further afield, top New Zealand trade official Vangelis Vitalis has been in Washington DC talking with US trade negotiators about opening discussions on

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