China Business Summit highlights China-New Zealand relations, cooperation

The China Business Summit 2021 highlighted the importance of China-New Zealand relations and cooperation on Monday.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern delivered her keynote speech on New Zealand-China relations and her government’s China policy by reiterating the importance of the bilateral relations.

“New Zealand’s relationship with China is one of our most significant. Our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership continues to provide a strong foundation for the relationship. And we remain committed to our ‘one-China’ policy,” said Ardern.

“Trade in goods between our two countries has remained resilient despite the challenges of COVID-19, with overall exports remained strong. Two-way trade flows are now well in excess of 30 billion New Zealand dollars per year,” said Ardern.

Ardern also mentioned seeking common grounds on some important issues in the bilateral relations.

“Given our two countries’ different histories, world views and political and legal systems, New Zealand and China are going to take different perspectives on some important issues. We will continue to work through these in a consistent manner, as we have always done,” said Ardern.

As the host of APEC in 2021, Ardern believed that New Zealand has a unique opportunity as the chair, to play a role in shaping the future of the Asia-Pacific.

“We look forward to working closely with China and our other APEC partners to realise our aspiration for an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040, and I look forward to my discussions with President Xi in APEC later this year,” said Ardern.

Looking ahead, Ardern said that next year will be the fiftieth anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China.

“Relations between the peoples of our two countries stretch back much further in history, but fifty years of official recognition and cooperation is an achievement we’ll all want to celebrate,” said Ardern.

Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi also delivered her keynote speech on China-New Zealand relations at the summit.

“Thanks to concerted efforts by both sides, our relations have maintained healthy and stable development for a long time. We have offered each other invaluable support in fields such as pandemic prevention and economic revitalization, and maintained sound coordination and cooperation in international affairs,” she said.

The protocol on upgrading the FTA will create new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation, the Chinese ambassador said, adding that with the improvement of development quality and the scale of the Chinese economy, the two countries can actively explore and foster new growth drivers in health, aged care, education, e-commerce, climate change, science and technology and other fields.

“We have created many ‘firsts’ in our relations. Though we are different in social systems, stages of development and economic size, we have forged common ground and deepened beneficial cooperation. China is ready to work with New Zealand to push for greater development of the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership by upholding the spirit of ‘striving to be the first’,” said the ambassador.

New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor talked about New Zealand’s trade relations with China in his speech. He acknowledged the extraordinary success of New Zealand-China bilateral trade, propelled by the Free Trade Agreement the two countries signed in 2008.

“Ours is a trade relationship that is complementary, and from which both sides benefit,” said O’Connor. “I am reaffirming the government’s commitment to New Zealand’s trade relationship with China, an important market for us.”

Former Prime Minister John Key and Helen Clark attended the summit by delivering their respective keynote speeches and sat in panel discussion with Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran.

Keynote speeches were also delivered by business leaders, industrial representatives and academia from New Zealand and Australia.

The China Business Summit 2021 is the seventh annual summit on New Zealand-China relations organised by trade advocacy NZ Inc. and the Auckland Business Chamber.