New Zealand Prime Minister : New Zealand, China On Track to NZ$20 Billion of 2-Way Trade by 2015
09/04/2012| 01:36am US/Eastern
By Rebecca Howard
WELLINGTON--Prime Minister John Key said Wednesday New Zealand and China are on track to achieving two-way trade of 20 billion New Zealand dollars (US$15.9 billion) by 2015.
"New Zealand now exports more than 10 times the value of product to China every day than we did in the whole of 1972," he told a China Symposium in Wellington. Two-way trade between China and New Zealand was NZ$13.3 billion in 2011, and exports to China were up 10.8% in the 12 months to the end of July.
Trade between the two nations increased significantly after a bilateral free-trade agreement was inked in 2008.
Mr. Key underscored that China remains critical to New Zealand's economic development, in particular "as the center of gravity of global economic activity will keep shifting from the Atlantic to the Asia-Pacific region."
Economists, however, have raised concerns that a sharp slowdown in China could have a significant negative impact on New Zealand's economy. On Wednesday, ANZ Chief Economist Cameron Bagrie said he now expects the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to keep its key rate on hold at a record-low 2.5% until 2014. He also didn't rule out a potential rate cut, partly due to a slowdown in both Australia and China, New Zealand's two-leading trading partners. "Developments across the Tasman are starting to really worry me ...It's clear China is slowing sharply," he said.
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