While liberals in Congress are turning away from free trade with Colombia, South Korea, Peru, and Panama, China is busy inking deals with the rest of the world. The International Herald Tribune reports:
New Zealand’s Parliament on Thursday passed into law the first bilateral free trade deal between China and a developed western economy, in a move that will give the country fresh advantage in one of the world’s biggest markets.
The China Free Trade Agreement Bill, which will phase out tariffs on a broad range of goods and services starting Oct. 1, passed by a vote of 104 to 17, with strong support from the two main parties.
Trade Minister Phil Goff said the deal with Beijing would bring major benefits for exporters.
“Initial tariff cuts will take place on Oct. 1, resulting in the immediate elimination of tariffs on over NZ$200 million (US$150 million) worth of current New Zealand exports to China,” Goff said in statement.
“By 2017, tariffs on 96 percent of New Zealand’s exports to China, which currently cost exporters 120 million New Zealand dollars (US$90 million) a year, will be phased out,” he said.
Two-way trade between China and New Zealand currently is worth more than NZ$8.1 billion (US$6.1 billion) a year, with Chinese exports making up about 75 percent of the total, according to Statistics New Zealand.