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New Zealand PM in China to sign free trade deal
Agence France Presse
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 04 - 2008

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark arrived here Sunday on an official visit during which she will sign a free trade agreement, state media reported.
The official Xinhua news agency said that the free trade pact – the first ever between China and a developed country – will be concluded during the visit which ends on Tuesday following talks between Clark and China's Premier Wen Jiabao on a range of issues of “common concern.”
“This is a significant event for both New Zealand and China. As is well known, New Zealand will be the first developed country to sign a comprehensive FTA with China,” Clark said last week.
Details of the agreement, the result of three years of negotiations, will not be released until after the signing ceremony.
Clark is leading a delegation of 150 business and government representatives to Beijing for the signing ceremony, the New Zealand Press Association said.
Trade Minister Phil Goff said it was in New Zealand's interests to secure preferential entry into the world's fastest growing economy as the agreement would create jobs and growth.
However Clark has been criticized in some quarters for pushing ahead with the deal during China's crackdown on unrest in Tibet.
But Clark said that while New Zealand had a difference of opinion with China on human rights issues that was not “standing in the way of New Zealand having a broad


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