2008-07-24 17:05:14 GMT 2008-07-25 01:05:14 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
WELLINGTON, July 24 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand parliament on Thursday passed the third and final reading of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Bill.
The Bill was passed by 104 votes to 17. The free trade agreement was signed in Beijing in early April. It is the first free trade deal China signed with a developed nation.
New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff said the passing in Parliament on Thursday of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Bill will bring the FTA into force on Oct. 1 and represents an historic advance in New Zealand's trading relationships.
Speaking from Geneva, where he is taking part in World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Round trade negotiations, Goff said the FTA will come into force when Royal assent has been granted by the Governor-General and the relevant regulations promulgated.
"Being the first developed country to sign an FTA with China will bring major benefits for New Zealand exporters doing business with that country, which is our 4th largest and one of our fastest growing trading partner," Goff said in a statement.
The benefits will start immediately. Initial tariff cuts will take place on Oct. 1, resulting in the immediate elimination of tariffs on over 200 million NZ dollars worth of current New Zealand exports to China, he added.