New Zealand launches China Strategy

Updated: 2012-02-03 11:11


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AUCKLAND, New Zealand - A new strategy for New Zealand's future dealings with China was launched by Prime Minister John Key at Auckland's waterfront on Friday, which gives its ties with China a clear direction over the next five years.

Key called for more investment between the two nations and said New Zealand was on track to doubling its two-way trade with China to 20 billion NZ dollars ($17 billion) by 2015 at the launch of NZ Inc China Strategy,

"We have a strong relationship with China and have seen good growth in trade over the past few years. The launch of the strategy today will help further strengthen that relationship," Key said.

"The goal of doubling two-way trade from 10 billion NZ dollars to 20 billion NZ dollars by 2015 was agreed when I visited Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in 2010."

"We are on track to meet that goal. Bilateral trade in the year to last September was up 22 percent on the year before, largely helped by the Free Trade Agreement that came into force in late 2008," Key added.

New Zealand was the first, and is still the only Western economy, that has a free trade agreement in place with China. It is also the first time for New Zealand to launch a China Strategy.

Setting out ambitious medium-term goals with China

Key said New Zealand's China Strategy launched on Friday sets out ambitious medium- term goals and provides a clear direction for the whole of government effort over a five year period.

"Trade with China is one of the success stories of the New Zealand export sector over the past decade or so. China is also New Zealand's largest source of foreign students, and our fourth biggest tourist market and we plan to develop these areas further. "

The strength of the relationship with China is underpinned by the Chinese communities in New Zealand, which number more than 147, 000 and are still growing.

Key said it is fitting that the China Strategy is being launched at the beginning of the auspicious Year of the Dragon, and also the year marking the 40th anniversary of New Zealand's diplomatic relations with China.

"There are good reasons for a strategy. China is the world's second largest economy and is still growing relatively fast. It is also a major influencer in the Asia Pacific region."

The strategy brings government agencies together to work collectively. It has a strong trade and economic focus but also looks at building political and diplomatic ties. The Strategy outlines why New Zealand businesses should be looking at China and gives them some of the information they need to do business there.

The strategy includes a set of five goals that specify action such as increasing trade and developing more high-quality science and technology collaborations.

The strategy document, named "Opening Doors to China", said that giving the amount of trade between the countries, investment by each in the other is low.

It says New Zealand would benefit from greater Chinese investment and the New Zealand government will take steps to get more of it.

Those steps include bolstering staff from the Government's inward investment agency at New Zealand's missions in China.

The strategy also reiterates both countries' aim of doubling trade to 20 billion NZ dollars by 2015 and increasing tourism by 60 percent.

It says the New Zealand Treasury and the Reserve Bank will hold regular talks with their Chinese counterparts for the first time.

Stepping up of contact between political and business leaders will also be encouraged.

New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser told Xinhua that the New Zealand and China relations is quite "exceptional" and "We think China could be in transformation of New Zealand's future."

China Strategy welcomed by NZ finance sectors

The launch of China's Strategy is widely welcomed by New Zealand's business and finance sectors.

David Green, managing director of Australia and New Zealand ( ANZ) Bank's Institutional Sector, told Xinhua that it is " fantastic" to see the launch of the China Strategy. There have been a lot of investment and trade and close political relations between New Zealand and China. Today is a great opportunity to consolidate the ties.

"I think we need more New Zealanders to appreciate what opportunities for our country presented by China and doing more business together. In recent years, ANZ Bank has rapidly increased its business in China and Asia. "

Following New Zealand government announcement of its NZ Inc China Strategy, PwC reiterated its support for the policy directions and partnership objectives.

PwC Partner and China sector spokesperson Colum Rice said he believes China will be an important source of funding for New Zealand business and infrastructure.

"New Zealand has benefited from China being our second largest trading partner. China has continued to grow strongly when most of the rest of the world has faltered. The Government has recognized the importance of the relationship with China for the future economic prosperity of New Zealand. The Government is committing resources to take economic ties with China to a new level," said Rice.

Gary Cross, head of Trade and Supply Chain, at HSBC New Zealand said: "2012 marks the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Free Trade Agreement with China and the auspicious Year of the Dragon, so it is fitting that we now have a formal strategy in place to double trade between the two countries by 2015."

"We warmly welcome the announcement of today's plan which will see numerous government agencies collaborating together to achieve the desired outcomes outlined in today's vision," said Cross.

"HSBC's is predicting that New Zealand's trade with China is set to grow at an annualized rate of 6.86 percent over the next five years. China is already New Zealand's second largest trading partner and going forward. Our economy is going to be intrinsically linked with the Asian superpower as it continues to grow," he added.