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Goff leaves for FTA signing in China

New Zealand Herald, Auckland

Goff leaves for FTA signing in China

4 April 2008

NZPA. Trade Minister Phil Goff leaves for China tomorrow to play his part in the signing of the free trade deal between New Zealand and China.

Mr Goff will sign the agreement with his Chinese counterpart Commerce Minister Chen Deming.

The ceremony will take place in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on Monday.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will witness the signing.

"The estimated benefit to New Zealand of a free trade agreement is a growth in exports against baselines of between $225 million and $350m a year and in due course a reduction in tariff payments worth $115m," Mr Goff said.

New Zealand is the first developed country to sign a comprehensive free trade agreement with China.

About 190 business people and civic leaders are part of the New Zealand delegation to China for the signing ceremony.

Mr Goff said that after the signing, he would lead a small business delegation to Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang - one of China’s most prosperous provinces "with which we do around $620m in two-way trade a year".

Over the next couple of months, there would be further trade delegations to China. Auckland mayor John Banks would lead one to Guangzhou, Christchurch mayor Bob Parker to Wuhan and Dunedin mayor Peter Shin to Shanghai.