Beijing Pact Signed

New Zealand is the world’s first developed country to sign a free-trade deal with China. “It’s a bit like getting the first date with the best-looking girl on the block,” says Stuart Ferguson, chairman of the New Zealand-China Trade Association: in this case, ahead of suitors Australia, Norway and India. Dairy and timber exporters are expected to profit most, but manufacturers like white-goods maker Fisher & Paykel and fashion house Icebreaker also stand to gain from easier access to China’s low-cost factories as well as to its fast-growing middle class. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao described the occasion as “a day of historical significance”.

Tags: Beijing pact  New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement  Time Magazine