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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called New Zealand to ensure a fair investment environment

Beijing. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called on New Zealand on Monday to ensure a fair investment environment, as he meet Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern whose country has rejected a bid by Chinese telecom giant Huawei to build a 5G mobile network.

Ardern, on a one-day visit to China, said before meeting Li that she hoped to have a dialogue with Beijing about New Zealand’s intelligence agency’s decision to reject the bid.

Ties with China have been tense under Ardern’s government which has openly raised concerns about Beijing’s growing influence in the South Pacific.

China postponed a major tourism campaign in New Zealand days before its launch in February.

“At present, China-New Zealand ties overall are developing in a stable manner,” Li told Ardern at the start of their meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the people, noting New Zealand’s desire for good relations.

“China also places a high importance on relations with New Zealand,” he said.

“And we hope that we can aspire to the greatest common denominator regarding each others’ interests and that when each sides businesses invest in each other’s businesses, they can enjoy a fair, transparent, convenient environment.”

Ardern told Li that she wanted to underline the importance her country placed on its relationship with China. In 2008, New Zealand became the first Western country to sign a free trade agreement with China.

“I reiterated to Premier Li that New Zealand welcomes all high quality foreign investment that will bring productive economic growth to our country,” she said in a statement following the meeting.

“We discussed the FTA upgrade, and agreed to hold the next round of negotiations soon and to make joint efforts towards reaching an agreement as soon as possible.”

China is New Zealand’s largest goods export partner.

The two countries should trust each other, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, when he met Ardern later in the day.

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