New Zealand companies urged to explore opportunities in China

09:04, May 13, 2011      

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New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand companies and trade organizations could do more to explore opportunities in the China market.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua at the biennial New Zealand Chine Trade Association (NZCTA) awards in Auckland Thursday, Key said New Zealand companies were doing well in China, but they had to be "the best in the world" to succeed in a highly competitive market.

"It's a massive market and the government's been working quite aggressively on a China strategy," Key told Xinhua. "That's unfolding and we're seeing quite good potential in some of the things we're doing, but I don't think there's any doubt we can actually do better in China. Partly it's about making sure that we really introduce those New Zealand companies to those opportunities.

"It's such an enormous market. At the moment the focus has been on the well-developed areas like Beijing, Shanghai and, to a certain degree, Guangzhou, but there are other parts of China we can touch."

Key said New Zealand companies could not afford to coast on the size of the China market.

"The risk is that New Zealand companies will go to China and just think the huge size will get them through. As we know, pretty much every company in the world is beating a path to the door of China. I don't think it's good enough to take a casual laissez faire approach."

New Zealand companies had to make the most of networks of successful people in China to ensure "we don't foot trip ourselves easily" and to have good partnerships.

Earlier, Key told the audience at the awards that New Zealand's economic outlook was "much firmer and brighter" than parts of Europe and "China has been an important part of that".

"That is a relationship that is increasingly strong and important for New Zealand," he said.

Highlighting the growth of bilateral trade, Key told the audience, "Last night, in the eight hours you were in bed, we sold more to China than we did in all of 1975."

New Zealand and China signed a free trade agreement in 2008. According to New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, bilateral trade in the first year of the agreement rose by 23 percent to exceed 10 billion NZ dollars (7.92 billion U.S. dollars) , with New Zealand exports up almost 60 percent to 3.5 billion NZ dollars.

Source: Xinhua
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