China trade surplus shows relationship working in our favour
New figures out today showing a $3.6 billion trade surplus with China demonstrate the value of our growing economic connections with China, according to the New Zealand China Council.
The Statistics NZ figures also reveal a tripling of two-way trade between New Zealand and China over the past ten years, from $8.6 billion to $26 billion. Stephen Jacobi says the 2008 Free Trade Agreement played a major role in the growth, but needs upgrading to ensure the trading relationship is sustainable.
“Since our agreement entered into force in 2008, China and New Zealand have both changed considerably. Our FTA needs modernising to account for developments in e-commerce, remove non tariff barriers and retain our competitive advantage as others complete their own FTAs with China.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative also provides new opportunities to engage with China and connect with overseas markets. We need to make sure we’re proactive, engaged and able to contribute to this project in a unique way,” Mr Jacobi says.
Upskilling Kiwi businesses to operate more effectively in China is also necessary if New Zealand wants to retain its favourable trading position with China, according to Mr Jacobi.
“We need to see China as more than just a market. In New Zealand, China is looking for a long term, reliable partner which means working hard to build cooperation, trust and mutual respect even despite our obvious differences.
“All Kiwis not just businesses can do their part to welcome Chinese immigrants and tourists by learning basic language, etiquette and cultural skills,” Mr Jacobi says.