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November 3, 2009

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China, N. Zealand in labor deal

CHINA and New Zealand yesterday signed a labor market agreement under which the New Zealand government would ease restrictions on Chinese workers seeking temporary jobs in the island nation.

The agreement, part of efforts to fully implement the free trade agreement between the two countries, was signed after visiting Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang held talks with his New Zealand counterpart, Bill English.

Under the deal, the number of Chinese technical workers in New Zealand could reach 1,000 at any given time while the number in five specially designated sectors was set at 800.

Both countries also agreed that the quota system did not apply to Chinese citizens who were permitted to work in New Zealand under the country's immigration regulations.

At the end of September, there were about 320 Chinese laborers working in New Zealand.

A Chinese official traveling with Li said the agreement would help protect the rights of Chinese laborers in New Zealand.

China and New Zealand have experienced rapid growth in bilateral trade since they implemented a free trade agreement in October 2008.

New Zealand is the first developed country to sign such a deal with China. China is currently the second largest trading partner and the third largest export market of New Zealand.

Despite the effects of the global financial crisis, trade between China and New Zealand grew rapidly in the first nine months of this year.

Li told English that China would work with New Zealand to continue to advance their relationship.

Noting the rapid growth in bilateral trade since the implementation of the free trade agreement, English said that the deal was crucial for his country to expand exports. He said the countries have also conducted fruitful cooperation in many other areas such as food safety and multilateral issues.


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