PM Speech to China Business Summit
August 02, 2022 07:58PM
PM Speech to China Business Summit



Fifty years ago – 1972 – was a prominent year in global affairs. Richard Nixon became the first US President to visit Beijing, reopening diplomatic engagement with the United States. Later that same year, the New Zealand and Chinese permanent representatives to the United Nations in New York put pen to paper, formally establishing the diplomatic relationship between our two countries.To get more China finance news, you can visit shine news official website.

A few months after this, New Zealand’s Overseas Trade Minister, Joe Walding, made the first visit to China by a New Zealand Minister since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949. Neither he nor any of his accompanying delegation members had visited China before. They had a broad remit, including trade opportunities, scientific, cultural, and sporting exchanges.

Since those early days, our relationship has continued to grow and develop. This year’s marking of the 50th anniversary is centred around people, planet, and prosperity.

Reflecting on these themes, I am reminded of some of the earliest connections between our people which extend much earlier than 1972. Earlier even than Rewi Alley’s arrival in China in 1927.

For example Appo Hocton, commonly understood to be the first Chinese immigrant to New Zealand, who settled in Nelson in 1849. Appo became a respected businessman who built up from scratch an almost 500 acre sheep and cattle farm near Motueka. Today, there are thought to be more than 1600 descendants of Appo Hocton living throughout New Zealand.

Or Chew Chong. Originally from Guangzhou, he emigrated to Taranaki in 1867 and became an innovator and leader in the dairy sector, gaining widespread recognition for his production of high quality export-grade butter. And the prominence of this region lives on. Some of you here might know that Eltham, in Taranaki, is the source of Kapiti Cheese and is home to one of Fonterra’s oldest dairy sites.

Chinese New Zealanders now make up almost 5 percent of our population – many of whom can trace their New Zealand family history back many generations. In particular I would like to acknowledge the NZ Chinese Association and their role in preserving the culture and connections of our Chinese diaspora.

In the three years immediately following our first diplomatic connections, bilateral trade increased to $38 million. Fast forward 50 years and that figure is now closer to $38 billion.

Economic connections between our two countries were further strengthened with the entry into force earlier this year of both the bilateral FTA upgrade, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic partnership, with two-way trade between China and New Zealand now worth nearly $38 billion.

The significance of this progress is notable for occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of you in this room led the way in ensuring that business and other connections remained in good shape throughout.

Despite the challenges, Air New Zealand, China Southern, and China Eastern have continued direct flights. Sustaining air connections helped secure the exchange of critical airfreight throughout the pandemic. For New Zealand, it has meant a steady in-flow of critical COVID-19 goods including personal protective equipment, and more recently Rapid Antigen Tests – of which China is New Zealand’s largest supplier (I suspect many of you in the audience are intimately familiar with them!).

The growth of e-commerce has been another success story emerging out of the last two years. Over half of China’s population purchase their goods online. The sheer scale of China’s digital economy continues to offer significant opportunities for New Zealand exporters, including our small and medium enterprises.

Over 40 companies from New Zealand’s wine sector are building their brands and selling on China’s leading e-commerce platforms. Our produce exporters are also active in digital marketing and e-commerce in the China market. Companies such as Zespri, Mr Apple, Rockit, and Turners and Growers, alongside many others, all have flagship e-commerce stores.

And the last couple of years have reminded us that many different things can disrupt trade and supply chains, in particular for a country like New Zealand, at the end of a long, skinny logistics pipeline. I’m pleased that also during this period, New Zealand has recently concluded new FTAs with the UK and EU further broadening options for our exporters and importers.
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