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03 February 2012
PM launches strategy to open doors to China

Prime Minister John Key today confirmed New Zealand was on track to doubling its two-way trade with China to $20 billion by 2015 at the launch of the NZ Inc China Strategy at the Cloud in Auckland.

"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," Mr Key says.

"The goal of doubling two-way trade from $10 billion to $20 billion 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 per cent on the year before, largely helped by the Free Trade Agreement that came into force in late 2008," Mr Key says.

New Zealand was the first, and is still the only Western economy, that has a free trade agreement in place with China.

Mr Key says the NZ Inc China Strategy launched today sets out ambitious medium term goals and provides a clear direction for the whole of government effort over a five year period.

"It is the second centralised strategy to be launched following India last October. In addition to India and China, other strategies under development are the US, Australia, South East Asia, Middle East, and the European Union," Mr Key says.

"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 community in New Zealand, which numbers more than 147,000 and is growing.

Mr Key says it is fitting 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.

Further information on the strategy can be found online at: www.nzincstrategy.mfat.govt.nz


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