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NZ, Australia agree to increase mutual investment

02-16-2011 14:52 BJT

WELLINGTON, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard on Wednesday signed an agreement under the Closer Economic Relationship to increase investment between the two neighbors.

The investment protocol will increase the threshold at which Australian investment in New Zealand business needs Overseas Investment Office approval from 100 million NZ dollars (75.3 million U.S. dollars) to 477 million NZ dollars and investment by New Zealand in Australian business from about 230 million Australian dollars (229.9 million U.S. dollars) to just over 1 billion Australian dollars.

The thresholds will be updated annually, based on changes in GDP.

Key told a press conference that the New Zealand economy has been stronger and delivered more jobs as a result of the cross- investment in both countries.

Gillard said the investment agreement simply means "more prosperity and more jobs" for New Zealand and Australia.

Earlier Wednesday, she described the relationship between the two countries as "family" in a historic speech to Parliament, before meeting Key for bilateral talks.

She arrived in New Zealand on Tuesday, making her the first Australian leader to visit since 2007.

During talks, Gillard and Key pledged to continue efforts for a single economic market by working toward establishing a joint patents examination system and more competitive mobile roaming charges.

They welcomed the agreement on a joint ready response force, which will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in the region and reiterated their commitment to making travel across the Tasman easier.

They also aimed at eliminating whaling in the Southern Ocean, and expressed concerns about the continuing deterioration in Fiji's political and economic situation.

Gillard will leave Wellington for home on Wednesday afternoon.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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