The Protocol to upgrade the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement entered into force, and the level of trade in services reached RCEP plus.

2022-07-17 0 By

Zhao Zijian, 21st Century Business Herald, Beijing – On April 7, the Protocol on Upgrading between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of New Zealand (hereinafter referred to as the Upgrade Protocol) officially came into force, which will further expand the market opening of China and New Zealand under the free trade agreement and improve the level of relevant rules.The China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (HEREINAFTER referred to as the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement) was signed and entered into force in 2008. It is the first free trade agreement China has signed with a developed country.By 2019, the transitional period of the tax reduction arrangements had been completed and fully implemented.On January 26, 2021, China and Singapore formally signed the Upgrade Protocol.In 2021, bilateral trade between China and New Zealand reached a new high of us $24.72 billion, up 36.4% year on year and about 5.6 times that in 2008 when the FTA was signed.An official from the International Department of the Ministry of Commerce said that the Upgraded Protocol is a high-level free trade agreement reached on the basis of the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement and in line with modern international economic and trade rules.The Protocol covers a wide range of issues and provides mutual benefit to both sides. It will provide strong support for the two countries to further deepen trade and investment exchanges and strengthen industrial and supply chain cooperation.1. Further expand market opening in goods trade. Under the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, China and New Zealand have achieved high-level liberalization, with 97% and 100% tariff free respectively.In order to stabilize and expand import sources and promote green and sustainable development, China has committed in the Upgrade Protocol to gradually eliminate tariffs on 12 imported wood and paper products within 10 years, including wood fibreboard, napkins, writing paper, kraft paper, adhesive paper, cardboard and paper labels.In the area of trade in services, the two sides have made greater commitments on market access and greatly expanded the coverage of the most-favored-nation treatment commitment.China will open wider to New Zealand in aviation, construction, maritime transport, finance and other fields, especially in the field of aviation services, with new commitments in airport operation services, ground services and professional aviation services.New Zealand has enhanced the level of openness in legal services, engineering and centralized engineering services, and added its commitment to open management consulting and all related services.Singapore has also improved its commitment in the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement to work permit arrangements for Chinese characteristics, and increased the quota for Chinese language teachers and Chinese-speaking tour guides, who have a large number of applications from Chinese citizens, to find new jobs.In the investment sector, New Zealand has significantly eased the threshold of review for Chinese investors, granting them the same threshold of review treatment as members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).Chinese investors will be able to invest more freely and easily than before.(2) promote trade facilitation rules in terms of rules of origin, the upgrade protocol improved direct transport provision, introduced approved exporters independent declaration of origin system, increase the certificate of origin reissue, from submission of origin, the provisions, such as the network check system greatly facilitate trade enterprises use agreement, hui.The two sides will also set up a committee on rules of Origin to promote more standardized and effective implementation of rules of origin.On customs procedures and trade facilitation, the two sides commit to expedite the release of goods subject to appropriate conditions and to release perishable goods within six hours as far as possible.Promote greater transparency in trade management documents and recognise that electronic and paper versions are equally valid;We will use risk management, information technology and other means to provide more efficient and efficient customs clearance services for enterprises of both sides.In the area of technical barriers to trade, the two sides have expanded the scope of institutional cooperation on product conformity assessment procedures. They have also added provisions on border measures, marking and labeling, and upgraded the procedural requirements for the entry of products.Iii. Strengthening Cooperation on Post-Border Rules The Protocol upgraded the cooperation chapter of the original agreement and added four new chapters, including e-commerce, government procurement, competition policy and environment and trade, so as to reach high-level economic and trade rules in a wide range of areas.In the field of cooperation, a new agricultural cooperation clause will be added, and closer and deeper partnership will be established in agricultural science and technology cooperation.In the area of e-commerce, including electronic authentication and digital certificates, online consumer protection, online data protection, paperless trade and uninvited business electronic messages, will jointly promote the development of market through e-commerce by enterprises of the two countries, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.In the area of government procurement, the two sides stressed that they recognized the importance of improving the transparency of laws, regulations and procedures, established a framework to strengthen cooperation in government procurement, and agreed to launch negotiations on government procurement, including market access, at an appropriate time in the future.In the field of competition, anti-competitive business practices will be prohibited to protect a level playing field in the market and improve economic efficiency and consumer welfare.The two sides commit to follow the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and procedural fairness in competition enforcement.In the area of environment and trade, the two sides commit to effectively implement environmental measures, not to encourage trade and investment by lowering the level of environmental protection, not to use environmental standards for protectionist purposes, and to conduct environmental impact assessments as appropriate to deepen cooperation in this area.The director of the Department of International Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce pointed out that the market opening commitments and high-level rules reached in the Upgrade Protocol provide important opportunities for the two countries to further expand economic and trade cooperation. First, to promote the development of trade in goods.The reduction of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers and the implementation of trade liberalization and facilitation rules will help both sides further reduce trade costs, improve customs clearance efficiency, expand trade, and strengthen industrial and supply chains.Second, expand cooperation in services and investment.The two sides have opened new departments for trade in services, and New Zealand has significantly eased the threshold of review for Chinese investors. This will help lower institutional transaction costs for Chinese companies investing in New Zealand, foster a more transparent, stable and predictable investment environment, and further tap the potential of bilateral cooperation in trade in services and investment.Third, open up new space for economic and trade cooperation.The upgrade protocol to the international high standard economic and trade rules, including the new electronic commerce clause after a series of border cooperation and discipline, is conducive to both sides in the digital trade, and other areas of the wider economic and trade cooperation, and jointly promote the competitiveness of the international economy, also sign up a higher level in the future for bilateral and regional free trade agreements to lay a good foundation.Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand, the Protocol has officially entered into force, which fully demonstrates the willingness of both sides to further strengthen and expand bilateral economic and trade cooperation through deepening the free trade partnership.The official of the Department of International Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce further pointed out that the Upgrade Protocol plays a positive role in the implementation of the free trade zone promotion strategy: On the one hand, the Upgrade Protocol actively explores a higher level of market opening.In the area of trade in goods, we will further expand the range of zero-tariff products on the basis of the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement.The level of openness in trade in services has reached “RCEP plus”. The two sides also agreed to launch negotiations on a negative list of trade in services within two years of the entry into force of the Upgrade Protocol to further enhance openness.On the other hand, the Upgrade Protocol actively incorporates provisions for higher level rules.Four new rules and clauses have been added in e-commerce, government procurement, competition policy, and environment and trade, among which the environmental section is even higher than the RCEP level, laying a good foundation for China’s FTA to be upgraded to a higher standard and in a wider range of areas.For more information, please download the 21 Finance APP