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Stephen Jacobi on China steel dumping allegations

July 22, 2016

From Newstalk ZB: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/opposition-mps-want-answers-and-action-on-chinese-steel-stoush/

A trade stoush has been taken up a notch, with accusations China is spying on New Zealand officials.

There are reports Chinese officials are applying pressure behind the scenes, warning of trade repercussions because they’re unhappy with an investigation into cheap imported Chinese steel.

Fonterra and Zespri are among exporters said to have felt pressure from Chinese officials.

But New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said the real question is how China found out about an investigation that was supposed to be secret.

“Either Mr Joyce deliberately told his officials to disclose this information to the Chinese or we are the victim of secret listening equipment – it’s one or the other.”

Peters said New Zealand should never have given the Chinese so much negotiating power.

“We’ve put ourselves in the most precarious position of relying upon one market at the expense of other endeavours we should have been working on around the whole world.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s finance spokesperson Grant Robertson said the government needs to move fast, to stop what could be a disaster for Kiwi exporters.

“There is a real risk here for some very important export industries. We know that China is our biggest market.

“They need to be able to explain to all of the export industries what case is being taken, what are the steps that they are involved in. We need there to be diplomatic contact between New Zealand and China.”

However, the New Zealand China Council is urging everyone to take a step back and look at the facts.

New Zealand China Council acting executive director Stephen Jacobi told Andrew Dickens he doesn’t think it’s as serious as people are suggesting.

“We’re dealing with unsubstantiated rumours. It’s not the way China and New Zealand normally do business with each other.”

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