10 Dec 2022

Ardern hoping to lead trade mission to China

10:59 am on 10 December 2022
The skyline of the Beijing central business district

The Beijing skyline Photo: 123RF

The Prime Minister says she hopes to lead a trade mission to China - New Zealand's biggest trading partner - once border settings are changed there.

After meeting President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok, Jacinda Ardern said the Chinese had agreed to New Zealand sending the mission.

In a speech to the New Zealand-China Council in Auckland on Friday, Ardern said she hoped to return to China in person when the settings allow.

Ardern said New Zealand's trade and economic links with China had proven resilient, despite the challenges of Covid.

Her comments came just two days after China announced it was dismantling key parts of a strict "zero-Covid" policy, giving momentum to a flagging economy.

Some commentators have forecast the country's first steps in relaxing the strict Covid-19 control measures could indicate wider changes to come.

Ardern's speech marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

If the trip was to go ahead, it would be Ardern's second visit to China, after a week long visit in 2019.

(File photo) Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping  before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 1 April, 2019.

Jacinda Ardern with Chinese president Xi Jinping during Ardern's visit to China in 2019. Photo: AFP / Pool

Recent meetings between the leaders focused on foreign policy, trade relations and human rights.

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