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New Zealand in the Vanguard

On April 14 this year, New Zealand became the first of the developed countries to grant China market economy status (MES). New Zealand ambassador to China John McKinnon expressed his opinions in a recent interview with Beijing's Economy magazine.

Q: New Zealand is the first developed country to recognize China's full market economy status. What is its significance for Sino-New Zealand economic relations?

A: It has great significance. After Chinese President Hu Jintao visited New Zealand and met New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark last October, both sides agreed to strengthen bilateral trade and study a bilateral FTA. However, China asked us to first recognize its market economy status.

New Zealand seldom adopts anti-dumping or anti-subsidy measures. Its economy is open, and its industries face little competition from outside. The laws of New Zealand don't even distinguish market and non-market economies. Therefore, it had few barriers to recognizing China's MES.

Additionally, more and more New Zealand citizens have come to China and witnessed the achievements of its market-oriented reform, so New Zealand can accept it. It has little impact on New Zealand's economy. The most important thing is that both side can sit down to discuss the bilateral FTA issue.

Q: Since the laws of New Zealand don't distinguish market and non-market economies, bilateral trade will not be influenced by MES. What do you think, then, of China's request for MES recognition?

A: According to most-favored-nation clause of WTO rules, New Zealand will enjoy the preferential policies that China promised in WTO entry negotiation with other members. Now that New Zealand has accepted China's full market economy status, it means that our country gives up some possible trade measures against China, although New Zealand seldom uses them. It is good news for China and for Sino-New Zealand trade. It also benefits China's negotiations with other WTO members.

(China.org.cn by Tang Fuchun June 21, 2004)

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