New Zealand said on Monday it has concluded a deal to upgrade its free trade agreement with China which has been under negotiations for years. The upgraded agreement will make exporting to China easier and reduce compliance costs for New Zealand exports by millions of dollars each year, the trade ministry said in a statement. The upgrade would ensure nearly all New Zealand’s wood and paper trade to China will have preferential access over the next 10 years, it said. “This ensures our upgraded free trade agreement will remain the best that China has with any country,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in the statement issued after her bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Thailand at the East Asia Summit. New Zealand PM to meet Xi Jinping in Beijing amid tensions over Huawei The upgrade also secures a commitment from Beijing to promote environmental protections and ensure environmental standards are not used for trade protectionist purposes, it added. New Zealand was the first developed country to sign a free trade agreement with China in 2008. It has been working with Beijing to upgrade the agreement for the last three years. China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, with annual two-way trade recently exceeding NZ$32 billion (US$21 billion). New Zealand bans Huawei from 5G, China has message for New Zealand The relationship hit a stumbling block under Ardern’s coalition government after it criticised China’s lending to the Pacific, and rejected a bid to allow Chinese technology giant Huawei to take part in the country’s planned 5G network. Ties, however, improved after Ardern’s trip to Beijing earlier this year. New Zealand said existing conditions have been maintained on dairy trade in this upgrade, with all safeguard tariffs to be eliminated within just over two years for most products and four years for milk powder. Australian PM slammed for ‘doing Beijing’s work’ and mishandling China ties Meanwhile, Australia and China said they will work together to repair their bilateral relationship , tarnished by allegations Beijing committed cyberattacks and has attempted to interfere in Canberra’s domestic affairs. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Li met on Sunday in Thailand ahead of the East Asia Summit, where both promised to try and improve the relationship worth more than A$180 billion (US$124 billion) in two-way trade last year. “I feel very strongly and committed to improving that relationship and ensuring we realise its full potential,” Morrison told Li ahead of the meeting, according to a transcript. The meeting took place just days after China lodged a formal complaint after Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Canberra would hold Beijing to account on its human rights record. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in remote Xinjiang it describes as “vocational training centres” intended to stamp out extremism and teach new skills. The United Nations has said at least 1 million ethnic Uygurs and other Muslims have been detained. Australia keeps China at arm’s length but local officials tout Belt and Road Initiative Payne’s comments were the latest in a series of Australian rebukes of China in recent months. Australian Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton last month said China was targeting political parties and universities in Australia, drawing a strong reaction from Beijing. In September, Australian intelligence found China responsible for a cyberattack on the national parliament and three largest political parties earlier this year. China’s foreign ministry denied involvement in any hacking attacks and said the internet was full of theories that were hard to trace.