Under the deal, 99 per cent of New Zealand’s $NZ3 billion ($2.8 billion) trade in paper and wood products will get preferential access to China’s markets. The new deal removes duties form an additional 12 wood and paper products. The expect values of these changes is expected to start at $NZ36 million ($34 million).
The timetable for elimination of dairy tariffs for New Zealand products going into China remains unchanged: two years for milk products and four years for milk powder.
“This means that by January 2024, New Zealand will have the best access to China for dairy products of any country,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Under the existing free trade deal 98 per cent of all New Zealand exports to China were tariff-free. Having already made the big gains for a free trade deal, this agreement focuses on ease of doing business.
At exporter-level the deal also removes red tape and speeds customs clearance for perishable items to six hours, helping fresh food exporters get goods to market more quickly. This will immediately affect good such as such as fresh seafood, including rock lobster and salmon, among others.
As part of the deal China also agreed that New Zealand exporters can “self-declare” that their good are New Zealand goods, rather than having to get third-party certification. Currently bodies such as chambers of commerce have to issue certification.
The deal will also mean that New Zealand goods that transit through ports of another country won’t have to apply for new certification documents from China. The need to provide extra documentation had been a bugbear of exporters for years.
“This ensures our upgraded free trade agreement will remain the best that China has with any country,” Ardern said.
The deal retains carve outs for the Treaty of Waitangi so the government can regulate to fulfil its obligations to Maori. New Zealand also retains the right to regulate “for legitimate public policy purposes”.