WELLINGTON, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand will continue to seek further trade and investment links with China as well as greater cooperation in the Pacific region, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries Wednesday.
"New Zealand now exports more than 10 times the value of product to China every day than we did in the whole of 1972," Key said at the event organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs and the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre.
"Rapidly rising living standards, increasing urbanization and a shift to higher-protein diets have supported demand for New Zealand products," said Key.
Since 2008, when New Zealand became the first developed country to sign a free trade agreement with China, New Zealand's goods exports to China had trebled, and China was its second-largest export market, with dairy and wood products the largest export commodities, followed by meat and wool.
The two countries were on track to achieve the goal the Key and Premier Wen Jiabao set in 2010, of doubling trade to 20 billion NZ dollars a year by 2015, he said.
The investment relationship with China was much smaller than the trade relationship, but also growing.
China was New Zealand's 11th largest investor with 1.8 billion NZ dollars of investment last year, much of it targeted at New Zealand forestry, manufacturing and agriculture.
"China is also investing in New Zealand government bonds, contributing to the record low borrowing rates New Zealand currently enjoys," said Key.
Chinese tourist numbers grew by 33 percent last year, and would continue to rise under a new air services agreement signed earlier this year.
China was also New Zealand's largest education market, with New Zealand currently hosting about 23,000 Chinese students.
At the Pacific Islands Forum last week, the governments of the Cook Islands, China and New Zealand announced a joint project to deliver an improved water mains system in Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands, marking the first joint development initiative between New Zealand and China in the Pacific.
"It is an example of how we can work together to get the most benefit from our aid programs in the Pacific," said Key.
Most viewed commentaries
US expertise gives it powerful role in maritime politics
China and Japan should not be kidnapped by an old fogey
Boom of US arms sales aggravates regional security dilemma
Japan aids armed forces of China's neighbors
Japan’s hardline rhetoric on Diaoyu is ‘playing with fire'
Japan must take Chinese people’s feeling seriously