"In 2016, Chinese visitors to New Zealand spent $1.67 billion and by 2022 this number is projected to increase to $5.3 billion".
"The agreement to commence negotiations also confirms the commitment of both countries to open trade and economic growth", English said in a statement.
"Wherever there is an agreement or an opportunity that delivers a greater fairness for New Zealanders in the U.S. or China. then New Zealand will look at that".
China is pushing a rival pact known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which would include New Zealand.
The bull in the China shop Winston Peters is complaining about secret deals being done behind closed doors, snorting at the Free Trade Agreement saying that less than a decade on we're renegotiating it from a point of total weakness.
"Premier Li and I also reiterated the value we see in people-to-people links between our two countries, including the almost 35,000 Chinese students studying in New Zealand and the 400,000 Chinese who visit annually".
"New Zealand is committed to liberalising air services, allowing for competitive markets, increased air traffic, lower air fares and stronger global trade links", Mr Bridges says.
Li plans to be in the country until Wednesday.
China has drawn worldwide criticism for large-scale building in the South China Sea, although Li told reporters in Australia the development was for civilian purposes only.
Mr English said New Zealand was going to want improved access for New Zealand products.
New Zealand has signed a deal to cooperate and support China's flagship One Belt, One Road initiative, which aims to connect China to the world with land and maritime highways. New Zealand hopes to further promote bilateral cooperation in trade, science, judicial affairs and other areas, he added.
The upgrade would assist progress towards the target of $30billion of two-way trade by 2020, he said.
Li arrived in Wellington on Sunday for an official visit to New Zealand after wrapping up his Australia tour.
"Pretty large" means a multitrillion-dollar transport network around the globe, building roads, railways and ports in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.