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Interview: NZ-China economic ties can be closer, stronger

Xinhua Online

Interview: NZ-China economic ties can be closer, stronger

6 May 2005

WELLINGTON, May 6 (Xinhuanet) — New Zealand, expectedly the first developed country to make a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) deal with China, can tap boldly China’s vast market and share more common interests in the future, said Jean-Christophe Iseux, a China expert here Friday.

He told Xinhua that the two countries have been maintaining active economic relations over the past years and more areas of exchange can be explored.

Jean-Christophe Iseux is the speaker of "China Today" seminars being held in Auckland and Wellington currently.

He is also Specially Invited Member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Adviser for Foreign Economic Cooperation to the CPC Central Committee.

Iseux said the two nations keep upbeat trade in dairy and wool products, sea food, meat as well as clothing and electronic products, but the pair are now facing the challenges of finding vaster rooms of business.

"I think New Zealander could beef up service trade supply to China, currently rather weak in the area," said Iseux.

Also China is somewhat shifting from an exporter to an importer in some trades due to its huge consumption market, and New Zealandcan be a stronger provider of fruits, seafood, forestry, meat and dairy products to that market, said Iseux.

The growth in New Zealand trading relationship with China has been rapid and over the past four years, New Zealand’s exports to China have risen by on average 100 million NZ dollars (73 million US dollars) a year, from 1.3 billion NZ dollars (949 million US dollars) to 1.7 billion NZ dollars (1.2 billion US dollars). Now China is New Zealand ’s fourth largest market with two way trade at over 5 billion NZ dollars (3.7 billion US dollars).

Iseux said New Zealand and China have every reason to get closer in trade. Governments of the two nations have been paying attention to their mutual relations and hopefully the high-ranking official visit in the near future will give another boost to the relations.

He noted New Zealand is the first developed country recognizing China’s free trade status, and New Zealand doesn’t have "the burdens or difficulties" in many political or cultural issues hindering its economic approaching with China, the greatest potential market in the current world.

"The only trade-related psychological problem for the businessmen of the two countries, I think, is they are still not very confident in exploring more market areas," said Iseux.

"They can do more and make more money if they can understand each other better and take further steps."

Regarding the FTA under negotiation, Iseux said it might not bea much great push to the bilateral trade.

"But it’s indeed a very import deal, because it will lead more developed countries to the FTA negotiation with China."

Iseux said the FTA will surely achieve a "win-win" outcome for New Zealand and pave the way for the pair to keep sustained solider ties in the century.