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New Zealand focuses on Eastern promise

By Ding Qingfen (China Daily)

10:47, March 20, 2012

Emerging economies replacing traditional Western markets

New Zealand is shifting the focus of its economy away from Europe and the US to the emerging markets led by China, its trade minister said.

"Absolutely, we strongly welcome Chinese investment. We have a strategic objective to encourage Chinese investment in New Zealand, part of what we call the New Zealand Inc China plan," Tim Groser, minister of trade and also associate minister of foreign affairs, told China Daily in an exclusive interview in Beijing.

The New Zealand government recently lowered its economic growth forecast for this year to 2.8 percent from 3.4 percent, due mainly to the European debt crisis and the weak recovery in the US.

These two markets provided a major source of foreign investment in New Zealand and more than 60 percent of its exports went to developed nations.

"We have lowered our growth rate fractionally", but "we are much more optimistic about the economy in the long term, mainly because we have successfully repositioned ourselves toward the emerging economies led by China," Groser said.

"China for us is, fundamentally, a more optimistic view of the future."

As part of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), domestic companies are encouraged to invest abroad.

China is the world's fifth-largest investing nation, and capital from it has mainly flowed to the Asia-Pacific region, especially to the mining and commerce sectors.

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