Key Points:

A timeline of New Zealand's relations with China and the moves towards a trade deal.

1949 - The Communist Party under the leadership of Mao Zedong founds the People's Republic of China.

1972 - New Zealand under Norman Kirk becomes the first developed nation to recognise China.

1979 - Premier Deng Xiaoping begins the process of opening up China to economic reform and moves away from a centrally controlled economy to a market based system, by 2005 China's economy quadruples in size.

1989 - The massacre of pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square results in New Zealand suspending ministerial and senior official visits for a year.

2002 - Hu Jintao becomes China's president and the pace of high level visits between the two countries picks up.

October 2003 - President Hu and Prime Minister Helen Clark agree to negotiate a trade and economic framework.

May 2004 - A framework is agreed, New Zealand recognises China as a market economy and agrees to look at the idea of trade talks.

November 2004 - Miss Clark and President Hu agree that trade talks should begin.

December 2004 - First round of negotiations begin.

April 2006 - Miss Clark and Premier Wen Jiabao meet in Wellington, and agree the deal will be concluded within two years.

December 2007 - The 15th round of negotiations take place.

March 2007 - Both countries leaders finalise agreement.

April 6 2007 - Deal is signed.

- NZPA