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Celebrating five years of Anchor in China

August 23, 2018

Last night, New Zealand China Council joined Fonterra to co-host the celebration of five years of the Anchor Brand in China.

The event was held at the Fonterra Centre in Auckland.  New Zealand China Council Executive Board members including Sir Don McKinnon, Dame Jenny Shipley, members from the Fonterra Board, Christina Zhu, President of Fonterra Greater China and representatives from various businesses in attended the event.

Fonterra makes up 11% of China’s total dairy consumption, accounts for 36% of dairy imports and 26% of its output goes into China.

Here is what our Executive Director Stephen Jacobi had to say at the event:

ANCHOR AND THE CHINA TRADE STORY

 It’s a pleasure to be with you this evening and to join Miles Hurrell, Christina Zhu and the Fonterra family to celebrate five years of the Anchor brand in China.

China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner – trade has grown three-fold in the ten years since we signed our ground-breaking FTA.

Fonterra and its products have led that remarkable story and they continue to do so with a reputation for quality, safety and integrity that Chinese consumers have come to rely on.

No business is ever a straight-line in terms of growth, but Fonterra’s team have met these challenges head on and are continuing to build the basis of a sustainable business into the future.

The NZ China Council is an organisation that tries to think about the future of the relationship with China and to build strength and resilience.

One challenge as we move forward in the next five years is how to maintain the extraordinary momentum we have become used to.

That momentum risks being impacted by global trade tensions and geo-political rivalry.

New Zealand needs to steer a careful path between competing visions and deepen our international trade relationships in all directions.

For some years we have benefited from a “first mover advantage” in China but our competitors are certainly catching up.

Fonterra and the dairy industry have a clear interest in the outcome of our FTA upgrade negotiations and in the end of dairy safeguards, but the negotiation is a challenging one.

New opportunities for trade development can be found in China’s Belt and Road Initiative: we are grateful for the help Fonterra gave the Council and PwC to complete our report which maps out a possible strategic pathway for Belt and Road.

If you have not read the report I encourage you to do so at www.beltandroad.co.nz.

Belt and Road provides an opportunity to inject some new momentum by focusing on projects that match New Zealand’s interests and values.

Trade facilitation, New Zealand as a conduit from China to Latin America, innovation and the creative sector are all ideas set out in the report.

Building greater cultural understanding and awareness is another important objective.

Increasingly the relationship with China is not something that happens “over there” but also “back here” – the relationship has a human face through tourists, migrants, students and investors.

When it comes to public perceptions, we have some good news to report.

This coming weekend the Council will release our Perception of China Monitor – the first time we have asked what the relationship with China means to kiwis.

With the help of ResearchNZ we interviewed 1000 New Zealanders earlier this year.

I’m pleased to tell you that 43 percent of those interviewed were positive about the relationship – three times as many who say it is negative.

The number was comparable to those who had positive feelings about Japan or the United States.

Asked about the trade relationship, over one third of us (39 percent) want to see trade with China increase with only 12 percent saying it should decrease.

Some 38 percent want it to stay the same which if you consider trade is at an all-time high is also a good result.

Somewhat surprisingly the survey shows that New Zealanders think China benefits most from the relationship, so we at the Council and our partners have more work to do there to point out the benefits of the relationship.

There are also a range of nuanced views about foreign investment from China.

Most interesting is that whereas only 10 percent of us have visited China, 46 percent would like to visit and 69 percent believe Chinese is the most useful foreign language to be taught in schools.

We plan to continue with this survey on a regular basis to build up a more accurate picture of New Zealanders’ views, but the research does point to a sound basis to take the relationship forward.

Ladies and gentlemen, China represents enormous opportunity for New Zealand exporters if the business can be got right as Christina and her team strive to do every day.

The FTA upgrade and Belt and Road can certainly help but the human factor is never far from trade.

It is people after all who farm New Zealand’s productive countryside.

It is people who make, market and sell Anchor’s products.

And it is people who consume them.

As we celebrate Anchor’s fifth anniversary in China, it is a good time to remember not only the economic value that this business generates for us kiwis, but the nutrition and health these products provide to Chinese consumers.

May this long continue and may we work more closely together to build this relationship between China and New Zealand.

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