Bill English elected New Zealand prime minister; focus now cabinet reshuffle
New Zealand Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English speaks to members of the media in Wellington, New Zealand, December 5, 2016. REUTERS

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English announced on Sunday that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is scheduled to travel to New Zealand next week for talks with government and business leaders. This recent visit of Li comes as international attention centres on China's role in promoting free trade and globalisation amid a turbulent start by new US President Donald Trump.

Both New Zealand and Australia is encouraging China and other major Asian economies to join the trade treaty after Trump ended US involvement. In this way, the countries hope to salvage the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

After having talks with Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull in Australia, the Chinese premier will travel to New Zealand along with his wife, Professor Cheng Hong. Both of them will lead a delegation of business and government representatives to New Zealand from March 26-29.

In a statement, English: "The visit is an important opportunity to set the agenda for the next stage of our strong relationship and demonstrates our shared commitment to open trade and economic growth."