Xi seeks expanded trade with New Zealand

Updated: 2015-07-22 07:53

By Zhao Shengnan(China Daily)

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President Xi Jinping called for more economic cooperation between China and New Zealand as he met with Jerry Mateparae, the country's governor-general, on Tuesday in Beijing.

Both countries should expand cooperation in traditional areas, including agriculture and animal husbandry, and explore cooperation in sectors such as food safety, biological medicine, new energy and infrastructure, Xi said.

China wants to work with New Zealand and others to build the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank into a mutually beneficial, professional and efficient lending platform that boosts regional connectivity and development, Xi said.

New Zealand was the first developed Western nation to start negotiations to set up the China-led bank, which is designed to invest in new infrastructure across Asia. It joined the bank as a founding member.

Last month, the New Zealand government announced that the island country will invest NZ$125 million ($82.4 million) in the bank over five years.

Asia is important to New Zealand's future, so it made sense to contribute to infrastructure investment in the region, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in a recent statement.

China is New Zealand's largest trading partner, with two-way trade volume reaching $14 billion last year and moving toward a target of $30 billion by 2020, a goal set by Xi and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Mateparae told Xi that New Zealand hopes to shore up cooperation and seize opportunities generated by China's development.

New Zealand is also willing to work with China to help the small island countries in the South Pacific region, Mateparae said.

Dairy products remain New Zealand's biggest export to China. China purchased $3.11 billion worth of milk powder and other products last year.

Mateparae started his five-day visit to China on Monday from Shanghai, an economic hub. After Beijing, he will visit Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang province.

Mateparae's trip comes in the wake of New Zealand Finance Minister Bill English's visit to China.

China's big investment push is winding down, while consumer demand - which is the main driver of New Zealand's income from China - is holding up and in "pretty good shape", media reports quoted English as saying on Tuesday.


 Xi seeks expanded trade with New Zealand

President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, welcome visiting New Zealand Governor-General Jerry Mateparae and his wife in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. Wu Zhiyi / China Daily

(China Daily 07/22/2015 page3)