free trade agreement

April 8th, 2008

 Update: Although I appreciate the linklove from Danwei, it was a little too early, and the post where I finally explore all I wanted to explore on this issue can be found here.

And so the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement is signed. Being kinda curious as to how this would be presented in the Chinese media, I started looking around over breakfast. My favourite 新京报/The Beijing News had not updated since I checked last night, so nothing there. That, unfortunately, meant going straight to Xinhua. I have the English version bookmarked, and so the first article on the subject I found was this one, which leads with:

BEIJING, April 7 (Xinhua) — China and New Zealand signed a free trade agreement, the first such pact between China and a developed country, on Monday.

The deal was inked by Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and New Zealand Trade Minister Phil Goff. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his New Zealand counterpart Helen Clark attended the signing ceremony after over-one-hour bilateral talks.

But that’s for international consumption, and what I’m curious about is how it’s being presented to the domestic audience. And so I went over to the Chinese side of Xinhua‘s site, which is an absolute mess (there’s a bloody good reason why I like TBN so much, and it’s not the content), and after some searching, found a couple of articles.

The first was apparently not directly related to the FTA, but just looked like the usual “Crackpot dictator of Banana Republic X meets [insert high-ranking Chinese leader who had nothing better to do] and reaffirms all the usual policy points” article Xinhua is so good at. And is it just me, or does poor Wen Jiabao look rather daunted in that photo? Anyway:


Wen Jiabao meets New Zealand Prime Minister Clark


Xinhuanet Beijing April 7 (reporter Li Shijia) State Council Premier Wen Jiabao held a meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Clark on the 7th in the Great Hall of the People. Both sides unanimously agreed to take the signing of the free trade agreement as a turning point and to push Sino-New Zealand all-round friendly and cooperative relations to higher levels.

Now, I’m sorry, but I have class at ten and I don’t have time to bang my head against the solid brick wall of Chinese political rhetoric. I’ll get back to this and the other article this afternoon, and I might even try seeing what China’s other media are doing about the FTA. Let’s just say that the article continues with Wen Jiabao’s thoughts and feelings on the FTA and Sino-New Zealand relations and the future development of friendly, cooperative ties between the two countries, and then moves on to Clark’s views. I hope, considering “education” is mentioned, that future Sino-New Zealand cooperation does not involve China offering New Zealand training in political rhetoric.

The second article, which seems to be more directly about the signing of the FTA, is headlined thusly:

中国与新西兰签署自由贸易区协定 四个”第一”引人注目

China and New Zealand sign free trade agreement. Eyecatching four “Firsts”

The four firsts are:


New Zealand was the first country to complete bilateral negotiations for China’s entry into the WTO, the first country to recognise China’s status as a full market economy, the first developed country to open negotiations on a free trade zone with China, and the first developed country to complete a free trade agreement with China. These four “firsts” in the history of economic relations with China are especially eye-catching.

Right, I’m already running late as it is, I’ll get back to the FTA this afternoon.

3 Responses to “free trade agreement”

  1. wordmonger Says:

    Really interesting THANKS!

  2. wordmonger Says:

    btw I have recently started regularly reading your blog and think its great.

  3. wangbo Says:

    Thanks, Wordmonger.