China's premier meets global business leaders at development forum

China's premier meets global business leaders at development forum

The Premier will be accompanied by his wife, Professor Cheng Hong, as well as a large official and business delegation. Two-way trade reached a new all-time high of NZ$23 billion in 2016.

Mr Li is the second-ranked member of the Chinese government, after President Xi Jinping who visited New Zealand in November 2015. He is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 12th most powerful person in the world.

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

Prime Minister Bill English announced today that he and Premier Li will hold official talks in Wellington, and that he and the Premier will also meet business leaders in Auckland during his visit from 26 to 29 March.

This visit will highlight Australia's strong economic relationship with China and our mutual commitment to encouraging trade and investment in our region.

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China supports foreign-funded firms to list and issue bonds in the country and participate in national science and technology programmes and infrastructure projects, said Li.

University of Canterbury worldwide relations professor Anne-Marie Brady said she believed New Zealand would focus on free-trade talks.

But another source said the Australian side was taking a "wait-and-see" approach to gauge how other major Western economies reacted to China's overtures.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang told reporters on Tuesday there are "many opportunities and space for cooperation" between China and Australia for One Belt, One Road, a subject he said Li would bring up on his Australia visit.

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