New Zealand and China Customs have agreed to work more closely together to fight the smuggling of pharmaceutical products used to make the drug methamphetamine, or "P" as it is commonly known in New Zealand, the New Zealand government announced Wednesday.
The agreement was the result of talks between Chinese officials and Customs Minister Maurice Williamson during a two-day visit by Vice Minister of the General Administration of China Customs, Lu Peijun, said Williamson in a statement.
The two Customs administrations had an "excellent relationship" and were also committed to continuing work to advance further growth in trade, he said.
"We have agreed to work closely in areas of intelligence, targeting and operations to combat drug trafficking. This will result in a better understanding of illicit drug supply and presents the opportunity to disrupt the supply chain from the export end," said Williamson.
He commended China Customs' willingness to approach issues that were specific to New Zealand's trade, and reiterated New Zealand Customs' willingness to assist China with any issues it had with New Zealand trade.
"We are committed to working together, in practical ways, to streamline processes. The cooperation between Customs has helped ensure the success of the free trade agreement," Williamson said.
Last week in neighboring Australia, Lu signed an agreement with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service to ensure the smooth flow of legitimate bilateral travel and trade, while stepping up the fight against the cross-border movement of illegal goods, with a focus on ContacNT, a pharmaceutical product that is a precursor chemical for illicit drug manufacture.
Members of the Chinese Anti-Smuggling Bureau visited New Zealand in May to discuss the trafficking of pharmaceuticals containing precursors, and to gain an understanding of Customs' intelligence and targeting operations.
In the year to July, New Zealand exports to China grew more than 10 percent from 5.6 billion to 6.2 billion NZ dollars (4.58 billion to 5.07 billion U.S. dollars) and imports from China grew about 9 percent from 6.7 billion to 7.3 billion NZ dollars.
This year is the fourth anniversary of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement, and the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.