Pathway to the agreement
The New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) represents a significant milestone in the relationship between New Zealand and China. While the process relating to the FTA began in 2003, the New Zealand - China relationship goes back much further, to 1972 when diplomatic relations between our two countries began.
In recent years the bilateral relationship with China has strengthened and deepened across the political, economic and people-to-people level. As a global and regional power and now New Zealand's third-largest trading partner, China has become increasingly important to us as a bilateral, regional and multilateral partner.
Both New Zealand and China are committed to strengthening the multilateral system and promoting regional economic development. Both are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC).
The decision to begin negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement came in November 2004 following a joint feasibility study which determined that there would be demonstrable benefit to both countries in entering an FTA.
Fifteen rounds of negotiation were then held between late 2004 and late 2007. The FTA was signed on 7 April 2008 in Beijing. It was ratified through the New Zealand Parliamentary process in July 2008 and entered into force on 1 October 2008.
- Page last updated: 02 July 2010