The Prime Minister’s diplomatic team skilfully orchestrated the visit so that New Zealand’s vital business interests in China were enhanced.
Wen made clear that China has drawn a line under the tainted milk affair at Fonterra’s now bankrupt Sanlu joint venture and welcomed increased participation in its fledgling agriculture industry.
Air New Zealand has also won a departure slot at Beijing International Airport that will help it encourage more Chinese visitors to come to Auckland, arriving at around 6am rather than just before 3am.
Key’s meetings with the prime Chinese customers of some of New Zealand’s major firms will also help in easing some barriers to doing business.
Clark’s own high-level political skills and feel for international affairs enabled New Zealand to secure last year’s historic free trade deal with China. But now the FTA is into the “implementation phase”, Key’s business skill-set is proving valuable.
It is good Key is continuing Clark’s fine work with China.
And the NZ Herald Editorial:
John Key’s state visit to China was a potentially tricky one. The 12 months after the signing of a momentous free trade deal have not been plain sailing. Most notably, New Zealand was implicated in the contaminated milk scandal that swept through China, thanks to Fonterra’s involvement in the now-bankrupt Sanlu joint venture. It is a feather in the cap of the Prime Minister and this country’s diplomats that the Chinese say they see no reason to allow this issue to undermine relations. …
Premier Wen Jiabao told Mr Key he regarded China’s relationship with New Zealand as the “very, very best” it had been. It is reassuring that a tie skilfully built by the previous government continues to flourish despite some unforeseen hiccups.
As the US buckles under the weight of Obama’s spending, the Chinese economy will become much more important to us.