Trade ministers from Pacific countries said New Zealand is aiming to agree on a free trade agreement between Britain and the EU this year to diversify its export markets amid heightened tensions with China.
However, Damian O’Connor argued that Wellington would continue to expand its trade relations with Beijing, despite the tense “plight” between neighboring Australia and China.
“Every country in the business finds value in having market diversity, especially in a world that is becoming increasingly difficult due to turmoil, climate change and geopolitical events,” he said. Told to.
“Obviously, China is also an important market for Australia, and while we are concerned that some turmoil is happening, we are just a strength between our two countries. We are embarking on the realm and building. “
China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner, with annual exports of NZ $ 19 billion (US $ 13.5 billion) by the end of March, accounting for a quarter of total exports.
Wellington Devastated China-Australia relations For over a year, Beijing has been urged to impose punitive tariffs on Australian wine and barley imports.
“We were always outspoken about our relationship [with China]When asked how New Zealand avoided this fate, O’Connor said.
Wellington was the first developed country to sign a free trade agreement with China in 2008, and in January it agreed to upgrade the agreement to increase market access.
Nevertheless, Wellington has quietly stepped up its efforts to diversify its trade relations to reduce its dependence on China.
As part of this process, O’Connor will meet with British trade secretary Liz Truss in London on Thursday to expedite negotiations on a free trade agreement with the United Kingdom. He will later travel to Brussels to discuss EU deals.
Truss turned to New Zealand as the next target for a substantive trade agreement after Brexit. One Department for International Trade official described the meeting as “the next big thing in town.”
However, British officials warned that progress would depend on talks between O’Connor and Truss. “New Zealanders need to offer us more about investment, mobility and services when they need to trade. Whitehall executives have so far delayed their efforts to address these issues. I have. “
O’Connor said the deal between New Zealand and the UK is probably UK-Australia Trade Agreement, This week was agreed in principle. He said reducing tariffs on New Zealand’s farm exports of dairy, lamb and beef would be one of Wellington’s demands.
He added it British farmers should not be afraid Imported from New Zealand. Most of its produce was destined for Asia, the United States and other markets, but the quantity available in the UK and EU was low. However, New Zealand’s produce could play a role in meeting off-season demand, he said.
Wellington’s efforts to diversify its trading partners could help protect the economy in the event of a collapse of relations with Beijing, even if there is currently little economic basis, analysts said. It was.
Rob Skoley, an associate professor at the University of Auckland, said: “But without some sort of political collapse, I don’t know if there is a strong reason to diversify away from China.”
New Zealand has been criticized by Australian politicians, analysts and the media for New Zealand’s view. Cozy relationship With Beijing accused of trampling human rights in Hong Kong and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Wellington has resisted expanding the power of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, a network that includes Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.
last month, 60 minutes broadcast documentary title Dollar vs. Dignity: Is China Taking over New Zealand? It criticized O’Connor that Australia needs to “follow us and show respect” to Beijing.
“Perhaps later, I shouldn’t have said that,” O’Connor said, adding that he maintained a positive relationship with his Australian partner.
He also denied Wellington had weakened in China. “We speak as needed and continue to build valuable trading opportunities for both our suppliers and our customers.”
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New Zealand is looking to the UK and EU to diversify its market beyond China
Source link New Zealand is looking to the UK and EU to diversify its market beyond China