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Alibaba Proposes New Zealand Free Trade Zone

China’s e-commerce colossus wants its consumers to benefit from New Zealand fare.

In an effort to facilitate greater trade, Alibaba has proposed establishing a free trade zone near to the Auckland airport, and according to the New Zealand Herald, the country is mulling the notion over.

New Zealand trade minister Todd McClay said the proposal “merits further consideration” but added that existing regulatory issues would require input from multiple government organizations before any deal could be hashed.

The idea behind the potential free trade zone would be to ease cross-border trade by removing setbacks from customers regulation and making for faster turn times for planes and vessels delivering goods since customs-driven formalities would be reduced.

If Alibaba could put thousands of small businesses in New Zealand onto one platform, their products would be pooled and shipped together at a cost that would be low enough to make it beneficial for consumers and sellers alike.

China and New Zealand already have a free trade agreement, which they entered into in 2008, but the new proposal is expected to help Chinese importers receive the full benefits of the deal. Between 2009 and 2014, trade in goods between the two nations doubled to 20 billion NZ dollars ($14.5 billion), and New Zealand exports to China grew 50 percent in the year ended June 2014.

Alibaba president Michael Evans, who proposed the idea to New Zealand senior cabinet members, said the e-commerce company’s job is to show governments and trade ministers there are creative ways to establish trade partnerships that can work and be mutually beneficial.

“China has made a big effort in setting up these free trade zones but doesn’t yet see that other countries [are] moving in the same direction,” Evans told the Herald.

If the free trade zone gets the green light, it would be easier for Alibaba to promote the sale of New Zealand’s exports to customers in China.

Trade for New Zealand could also soon be boosted by the passing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would give the country better access to globally significant markets.