New Zealand and China are set to sign off on increasing the goal for two-way trade to reach $30 billion by 2020 at a meeting between Prime Minister John Key and China's President Xi Jinping tonight.
And New Zealand is set to boost staff numbers in China and build a new embassy at an estimated $40 million. The announcement was due to be made following the meeting between the two leaders at about 10.30pm tonight, but the press release was sent out early.
Increasing New Zealand's representation in China was one of the key recommendations of the Government's inquiry into the botulism scare last August, aimed at ensuring it could respond to problems better.
The new goal is up from the target of $20 billion by 2015 — a goal set to be exceeded after trade figures came in at $18.2 billion last year and hit record highs in January.
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Mr Key has told local media that the new goal was very realistic and based in conservative modelling. Trade since the FTA had more than doubled and China's growing middle class was pushing it higher.
The PM said the new goal reflected the doubling in the value of two way trade since 2008 and trebling in the value of exports from New Zealand.
Mr Key said the increasing links and trade meant it was important to invest in resourcing New Zealand's presence in China more heavily.
The new announcements will see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade set up seven new positions, and employ a Public Affairs manager and advisor based in Beijing. The Ministry of Primary Industries will also add nine new people to its China office.
Mr Key said further announcements for other Government agencies would be made closer to the Budget.
He said he will leave Beijing knowing the relationship "has never been stronger."
Mr Key has hosted President Xi in New Zealand in 2010 prior to him becoming President. It is possibly Xi will return around the G20 summit in Australia next year.