China and New Zealand will sign a free trade agreement in April, in what will be the first such pact between China and a developed economy, AP reported. The agreement, which covers trade in both goods and services, is the culmination of 15 rounds of negotiations between the two countries that began in July 2004. Beijing officials said that New Zealand’s early recognition of China’s market-based economy led China to select the country for trade talks. New Zealand was also the first Western country to reach a bilateral agreement with China on its accession to the World Trade Organization. Annual China-New Zealand two-way trade is valued at more than US$3.9 billion, with more than 80% made up by Chinese exports.
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