China Premier set for official NZ trade visit

New Zealand Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English speaks to members of the media in Wellington, New Zealand, December 5, 2016.

I look forward to welcoming His Excellency Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, and his wife Madame Cheng Hong to Australia from 22-26 March.

Mr Li will also travel to New Zealand for talks with government and business leaders next week, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English announced yesterday. It will be the most senior visit from a Chinese official since President Xi Jinping's trip in 2014.

Both New Zealand and Australia is encouraging China and other major Asian economies to join the trade treaty after Trump ended U.S. involvement.

"China is willing to work with other countries to oppose various forms of trade and investment protectionism", Zhang told the China Development Forum in Beijing.

Discussions over a potential Belt and Road memorandum of understanding began in October past year, while Xi first raised Northern Australia as a potential Belt and Road investment destination during his visit to Australia in 2014.

China is Australia's biggest trading partner and the two have a wide-ranging free trade deal. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) has greatly strengthened trade and investment between our two countries, driving growth and job creation.

Beijing is struggling to cope with weak global demand and faces risks from growing USA trade protectionism as the administration under new President Donald Trump shows an aversion to globalisation.

Xinhua reported Mr Li would make the visit at the invitation of the Australian and New Zealand Prime Ministers.

  • Leroy Wright