A strategic plan between New Zealand and China, signed only on ANZAC Day to promote agricultural cooperation, has been reinforced by China overtaking Australia as New Zealand’s largest export destination in the March 2013 quarter.
“This is historic because China, in the March 2013 quarter at least, became our largest export destination,” says Bruce Wills, President of Federated Farmers.
“Given the primary industries are in the vanguard of this growth, they provide an excellent backdrop to the agreement signed between the Hon Nathan Guy, Minster for Primary Industries and his Chinese counterpart on ANZAC Day.
“This agricultural cooperation plan sets out areas in which we can learn from one another, such as on animal welfare and science, increasing productivity and building skills and knowledge.
“This builds on the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement and deepens our involvement in China. All vital steps to grow New Zealand’s primary capability on a global scale.
“Federated Farmers is keen to be part of this because the strategic plan signed on Thursday aims to open up “channels for cooperation” between our respective industry organisations and companies.
“New Zealand’s exports to China have more than tripled since 2008 and demonstrate what is possible with the Trans Pacific Partnership in negotiation.
“Our trade growth with China is breath-taking and every New Zealander benefits from this relationship. The more we can understand China the better our trade, cultural and social relationships will become.
“While the March 2013 overseas merchandise trade result for China is a revelation, it also reveals the twin impacts of drought and the dollar.
“New Zealand’s exports for the year ended March 2013 were around $1.2 billion less than what they were for March 2012; exports from the Primary Industries making up at least a third of this decline.
“Federated Farmers expects the impact of drought will likely be seen when we look back on overseas merchandise trade for the June quarter.
“Interestingly, the export growth of casein and caseinates mean it is now close to entering New Zealand’s top-10 exports,” Mr Wills concluded.