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Waitakere has become the first New Zealand city to sign a trade agreement with China.
Mayor Bob Harvey and Chairman of the Standing Committee of Ningbo People’s Congress Mr Bayin Chaolu, last night officially signed a trade and investment agreement.
The signing paves the way for Waitakere to take New Zealand businesses to China and open markets for business opportunities between the two countries.
It makes official a commitment made by both cities during Mayor Bob’s visit to Ningbo in May this year, where he met with Mr Chaolu and discussed the options of an agreement.
This historic event occurs in the same year as Waitakere and Ningbo celebrate 10 years since its sister city relationship was established.
Mayor Bob says the agreement is a huge opportunity, not just for business in Waitakere but New Zealand.
“The signing of this important document only adds to an exciting economic future for this city and its people, who will benefit.”
Mayor Bob says Waitakere can learn much from the Chinese and Ningbo economies.
“They are examples of astonishing economic success and we want to be a part of that.”
Mr Chaolu’s presence, as well as that of the new Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Auckland Madam Juhua Liao, indicated the significance of the occasion to the Chinese.
Mr Chaolu acknowledged the many strong relationships already established between the two cities, particularly in the areas of education, environmental protection design, arts and culture.
“We are ready to work with Waitakere City Council and its people to further advance our friendly cooperative relationships.
“I believe the frequent visits by high level officials from China and Ningbo will greatly promote these relationships.”
Madam Juhua Liao also welcomed the agreement.
“I am very glad with the signing of this a trade and investment agreement and a memorandum of understanding to strengthen friendly cooperation between the two cities.
“I believe that through their efforts the relationships between the two cities will be further enhanced.”
With the Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and China coming in to effect on October 1, Madam Liao says this signing is another example strengthening bonds between both countries.
Ningbo is a coastal city situated in eastern China in the south flank of the Yangtze River Delta, in Zhejiang Province, bordering Shanghai and Hangzhou. It has a population of 5.6 million people.
The port of Ningbo consists of three areas: Ningbo port area, Zhenhai port area and Beilun port area.
Ningbo also has a fertile land and abundant produces; it is an agricultural economy area of comprehensive developed in cereals, cotton, oil, economic native specialities and aquatic products as well as rural industry. It covers an area of 9,365 sq km.