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China highlights New Zealand's sluggish foreign investment situation: Deputy PM


08:25, August 14, 2012

WELLINGTON, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand has failed to move rapidly to find new ideas and capital through foreign investment, particularly with its second largest trading partner, China, New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Bill English said Monday.

Sitting on the doorstep of the world's fastest growing economies, New Zealand had to learn how to attract the ideas and capital brought by foreign investment, English said in a published speech to joint New Zealand-China conference on contemporary China in Wellington.

"There will be many more people in the Asia-Pacific region with growing incomes who want more of New Zealand's products. Our trading partners, led by China, have opened the door for us," said English.

"Our challenge is to assemble enough capital, people and market knowledge to take advantage of this opportunity. How we go about that will define our economic success in the next generation."

Investment between New Zealand and China remained small, even as the two countries celebrated 40 years of diplomatic links this year and four years after New Zealand became the first developed nation to sign a free trade agreement with China.

"New Zealand's future growth depends on access to capital, knowledge and skills, and China's size and its enormous growth potential means it will be the largest - and likely the fastest growing - market for New Zealand exports," said English.

China was now New Zealand's second largest trading partner after Australia, as rapidly rising living standards, increasing urbanization and a shift to higher-protein diets had supported demand for New Zealand commodities such as dairy and wood products.

China was New Zealand's largest source of imports by value, but was also Australia's top trading partner, providing further indirect benefits for New Zealand.

"Despite our strong trading relationship, China is not a major investor in New Zealand, being New Zealand's 11th largest investor totalling 1.8 billion NZ dollars (1.46 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011," said English.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) from China was about half that figure, he said.

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