As part of the overall outcome of negotiations, alongside the FTA, New Zealand and China have entered into an Environment Cooperation Agreement [PDF 230KB] and a Memorandum of Understanding on Labour Cooperation (Labour MOU) [PDF 241KB]. These agreements are consistent with the Government's 2001 policy framework on labour and environment [MFAT website] and are legally binding. Both agreements are referenced in the Cooperation chapter of the FTA.
The Environment Cooperation Agreement and the Labour MOU provide a forum for both countries to work together in a practical way to promote sound labour and environment policies and practices.
Both countries recognise that the primary purpose of their environmental laws and practices should be to achieve environmental objectives. Environmental policy should support policies in other areas (including trade and development) to achieve sustainable development.
New Zealand and China have reaffirmed their commitments made at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 and the World Summit for Sustainable Development in 2002, as well as those made under multilateral environment agreements.
New Zealand and China have reaffirmed their obligations as members of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and in particular under the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
Through the Labour MOU, New Zealand and China also recognise that it is inappropriate to encourage trade or investment by weakening or failing to enforce labour laws, and that it is inappropriate to set or use labour laws, regulations, policies and practices for trade protectionist purposes. The FTA also aims to facilitate temporary entry for employment for New Zealand and Chinese nationals to each other’s countries. Alongside the FTA, New Zealand and China have also agreed on a scheme that enables qualifying Chinese nationals to visit New Zealand on a Working Holiday.
Cooperation and consultation
Cooperation is a core focus of the Environment Cooperation Agreement and the Labour MOU.
On environmental issues, New Zealand and China have agreed on a list of specific areas for cooperation. The list is not exhaustive and is made up of areas that are of mutual interest and benefit to both countries. They include:
- management of water environment
- coastal ecological conservation and pollution control
- air pollution control and monitoring
- improvement of environmental awareness, including environmental education and public participation
- management and disposal of waste including hazardous waste
- environmental management of chemicals
- environment and trade,
- biodiversity conservation.
On labour issues, New Zealand and China have agreed to cooperate on the promotion of sound labour policies and practices including on:
- labour relations and dispute settlement
- working conditions
- human capital development, training and employability,
- the promotion and protection of the employment rights and obligations of migrant workers.
Consultation is another focus of the Environment Cooperation Agreement and the Labour MOU. Each country will appoint a coordinator to make communication between the two countries on environmental and labour issues easier. The two countries will engage in ongoing discussion on the issues and meet to resolve any issues that arise.
The Environment Cooperation Agreement and the Labour MOU provide for consultation with or advice from non-government sectors or relevant experts.
Members of the public and non-government sectors may also submit views or advise on matters relating to the operation of the agreements.
The New Zealand contact point for the Environment Cooperation Agreement is the Ministry for the Environment.
The New Zealand contact point for the Labour MOU is the Department of Labour.
- Page last updated: 20 March 2012