NZ reaches historic trade pact with China

New Zealand has signed a Free Trade Agreement with China, making it the first developed country in the world to strike such a deal.

Under the FTA, tariffs on lamb and beef will be phased out over the next nine years with New Zealand to be given a special wool quota, allowing it to undercut its Australian competitor.

New Zealand's kiwifruit and apple exporters will also benefit.

President of New Zealand's Federated Farmers, Charlie Pedersen, says the deal has been a long time coming and the country's dairy farmers will be the biggest winners.

"Dairy is the biggest exporter to China out of New Zealand by volume and by value," he says.

"So about $350 million of dairy exports to China a year, $160 million worth of wool exports and only about $70 million worth of meat exports, so dairy is the largest by far."

President of Australian Dairy Farmers, Allan Burgess, says China and New Zealand's agreement will put Australian dairy producers behind the eight ball.

Mr Burgess says he hopes the Australian Government will now fast-track its negotiations with China.

"We've opened up our own market, when we get put at a disadvantage we're not comfortable with that, and certainly now we're at a disadvantage with China," he says.

"So our farmers will expect us to be encouraging the Government to make sure we're in a stronger position in the future."


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