New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key gives a speech at Beijing University in Beijing, capital of China, April 15, 2009.(Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
BEIJING, April 15 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand wished to
strengthen cooperation with China in economy and trade, visiting Prime Minister
John Key said here on Wednesday.
"I am keen to see New Zealand make the most of the
opportunities presented by China's formidable economic growth," Key said in a
speech at the Peking University, entitled "New Zealand and China: Our Shared
Key reviewed the development of bilateral ties in
recent years, saying New Zealand was one of many countries that had benefited
from China's opening up.
"New Zealand is proud to have joined China in celebrating 'four firsts'," said Key, referring to New Zealand, as the first developed country which agrees to China becoming a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), recognizes China's establishment of market economy system, starts a negotiation toward a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and signs a FTA with China.
Zhou Qifeng (L), president of Beijing University, presents a gift to New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key at Beijing University in Beijing, capital of China, April 15, 2009. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)
Key hailed the New Zealand-China FTA, which was
signed last April, as a significant achievement for both sides, saying it
provided a framework for future economic growth.
Despite the global downturn, trade between the two
countries grew by 19 percent to more than 9 billion New Zealand dollars in a
year ending February 2009, according to Key.
New Zealand would invest more in China and planed to
develop business offices in cities like south China's Shenzhen, eastern Qingdao
and so on, he said.
"The China-New Zealand FTA is a good model for others
in our region as it points the way to openness at a time when protectionist
pressures are building," Key said.
Talking about people-to-people contacts, Key said,
"New Zealanders are becoming increasingly familiar with Chinese culture."
Speaking highly of a member of his delegation, Pansy
Wong, who was with Chinese origin and now the minister for ethnic affairs, Key
said Wong had made contribution to help New Zealanders understand more about the
Chinese culture, history and business.
According to Key, China was the biggest source of New
Zealand's overseas students.
Key began his China visit on Tuesday, and will head
to southern Hainan Province for the 2009 meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia
(BFA) from April 17 to 19.