The FTA contains additional provisions to enhance the bilateral relationship between New Zealand and China, and that address issues such as cooperation and transparency, dispute settlement, exceptions to the FTA and the process for review of the FTA.
New Zealand and China have agreed to begin bilateral negotiations on government procurement after China has completed its Negotiations Accession to the WTO on Government Procurement agreement (to which New Zealand is not a party).
The cooperation chapter of the NZ-China FTA aims to facilitate close cooperation between the two countries, as a means to enhance the benefits of the FTA. The chapter sets out the aims of economic cooperation and cooperation on small and medium-sized enterprises through ongoing dialogue.
The cooperation chapter states that New Zealand and China shall enhance their communication and cooperation on labour and environment matters through both the The Cooperation chapter states that New Zealand and China shall enhance their communication and cooperation on labour and environment matters through both the Environment Cooperation Agreement (ECA) and the Memorandum of Understanding on Labour Cooperation (MoU).
Under the NZ-China FTA, New Zealand and China must make sure that they publish any laws, regulations, procedures and administrative rulings on matters covered by the FTA.
New Zealand and Chinese nationals will be provided with reasonable notice about any administrative proceedings in the other country that may affect them and will be given a reasonable opportunity to present facts and arguments in support of their positions. Each country will also establish or maintain impartial and independent tribunals or panels to review and correct administrative actions regarding matters covered by the FTA.
These provisions are consistent with New Zealand's existing law and administrative practice.
The FTA establishes an FTA Joint Commission that is responsible for the implementation and review of the FTA.
The Commission meetings are an opportunity for either country to raise issues arising in relation to the FTA. In response, the Commission may establish committees or working groups to resolve these issues.
The Commission aims to ensure that the FTA evolves in a way that secures ongoing trade and investment expansion between New Zealand and China.
The Commission will meet once a year and at other times at the request of either country. It will meet at the senior official level unless there is a request to convene a meeting at the Vice-Minister or Minister level. The Commission may seek advice from interested parties on any matter falling within its responsibilities.
New Zealand and China have agreed to carry out a general review of the NZ-China FTA within two years of the Agreement coming into force and every three years following the initial review. Reviews will be carried out by the FTA Joint Commission.
The NZ-China FTA includes a robust and transparent government-to-government dispute settlement process to resolve disputes that arise over interpretation or implementation of the NZ-China FTA.
The first step in the process is to hold consultations. If consultations fail to resolve the issue, an arbitral tribunal may be established under the dispute settlement procedures.
If either country is found to be acting inconsistently with the NZ-China FTA, and does not bring itself into conformity with the Agreement, then an equivalent amount of that country's benefits under the Agreement may be suspended or it may need to pay compensation.
The Cooperation chapter is exempt from the dispute settlement provisions under the NZ-China FTA.
Both parties also retain their ability to take an issue to the WTO.
The NZ-China FTA contains a range of exceptions to ensure that each government retains decision-making powers in areas of national importance.
Provided that such measures are not used for trade protectionist purposes, the NZ-China FTA will not prevent either country from taking measures necessary to:
- Protect human, animal or plant life or health (including environmental measures), or public morals
- Protect national works, items or specific sites of historical or archaeological value
- Provide support for creative arts of national value
- Conserve exhaustible national resources.
The FTA will also not prevent the two countries from taking any actions it considers necessary to protect its "essential security interests", or to respond to a "serious balance of payments and external financial difficulty". Taxation measures are excluded from the FTA except to the extent they are covered by the WTO Agreement or by the expropriation provision in the investment chapter of the FTA. Any bilateral agreement relating to the avoidance of double taxation takes precedence over the FTA.
Provided that such measures are not used in order to avoid commitments, the FTA will not prevent either New Zealand or China from taking measures for prudential reasons, including for the protection of investors and others owed a fiduciary duty by a financial service supplier, or to ensure the integrity and stability of the financial system.
Neither party to the NZ-China FTA will be required to disclose information if it considers that the disclosure would:
- Be contrary to public interest
- Be contrary to the laws of the party
- Impede law enforcement
- Prejudice legitimate commercial interests of particular enterprises
Treaty of Waitangi
As in other trade agreements that New Zealand has entered into, there is also a general exception to ensure that the NZ-China FTA will not prevent any New Zealand Government from taking measures it deems necessary to fulfil its obligations to Maori, including under the Treaty of Waitangi.
- Page last updated: 16 July 2010