Concern new China deal won't help most Kiwis

The Greens fear a potential new trade deal with China won't be in New Zealand's best interests.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will be in New Zealand next week to meet Prime Minister Bill English and business leaders. The visit marks 45 years of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and China.

Green Party trade spokesman Barry Coates is hoping for a transparent conversation, saying the Government hasn't been open enough when it comes to making trade deals.

"Unfortunately the agreement with China, as the TPP before it, is not transparent. It really is something that should happen for proper democratic accountability," Mr Coates told Newshub.

It's hoped an upgraded free trade agreement with China will have major benefits for New Zealand exporters. Stephen Jacobi of the International Business Forum hopes it fixes problems in the original 2008 deal, signed by then-Prime Minister Helen Clark.

"Safeguards on our dairy exports, for example. We can't get the full benefit of those tariff cuts when the dairy trade gets too big. We've got some barriers in a whole range of products - particularly horticulture."

Mr Coates wants to ensure the deal isn't too narrow.

"We need to make sure the agreement really benefits all New Zealanders and all New Zealand companies - not just a few exporters."

Mr English, speaking on The AM Show on Monday, said the agreement Labour signed in 2008 has "served us pretty well" to date.

"The agreement's been a lot more successful than was expected back then, so we want to create a bit more room for selling our products there with low tariffs."

But China will have to be "happy" with the agreement too, he says, dampening the Greens' expectations.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal isn't completely dead, says Mr English, who admits he's not sure what the Chinese position on it is.

"New Zealand's view is that we should move along with everyone who's willing. We don't quite know what the Chinese position is. The Japanese are still working out their position, and they're pretty critical to the whole thing."

The TPP is on life support after the US pulled out with the inauguration of anti-globalist Donald Trump as President.