NZ Chinese Free Trade Talks
Tuesday 24 April 2007
Distinguished guests, members of the Chinese and New Zealand Trade Delegations.
I am delighted to welcome to Christchurch all those involved in what is the eleventh round of the NZ China Free Trade Agreement negotiations. A special welcome to those who have travelled from China.
It’s a pleasure to be able to reciprocate some of the hospitality I received from the Chinese people during my visit to Wuhan and Gansu province over the last few weeks.
On my trips to China I am always impressed with the warmth of the Chinese people. Much is made of our different cultures but I think we also share a lot in common and enjoy much the same sense of humour.
Issues of trade are vitally important to Christchurch and Canterbury. This city is an outward facing city, economically based on real trade. Our city’s connections with China are growing fast and a Free Trade Agreement would be a great incentive to do even more.
You are here to build on your previous talks with the New Zealand government to make progress on the finalisation of a free trade agreement between our two great countries. The best way to do this is face to face. That’s why I am very happy to see you here.
On thing Christchurch and Wuhan share is our great pride in our botanic gardens. I saw lots of innovations in the Wuhan gardens I would like to see copied here. Our botanic gardens are right next door to the Museum.
If you feel like some fresh air then I suggest a walk through the Gardens. It’s autumn but there is still lots to see and a peaceful walk through the gardens and along the river is a great way to refresh the mind.
My best wishes to you all on a successful round of talks.