Tuesday, 15 December 2020 05:55

NZ avoids China stoush

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Trade expert Stephen Jacobi says New Zealand should not be affected by Australia's disagreements with China. Trade expert Stephen Jacobi says New Zealand should not be affected by Australia's disagreements with China.

A deepening trade spat between China and Australia shouldn’t impact New Zealand, according to trade analyst Stephen Jacobi.

He says NZ and China have a strong relationship, but “from time to time, there will be things on which we disagree”. 

“New Zealand has made its views known in a careful and diplomatic way,” he told Rural News. “That should not affect our trade relations.”

China/Australia relations have been deteriorating since Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an international inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in April, a move that Beijing called “political manipulation”.

Since then the two sides have fought over several issues, particularly trade. China has slapped Australian winemakers with heavy tariffs, and banned, delayed or taxed exports of other products, including beef and barley. Australian exporters are worried that tariffs could spread to dairy exports.

Jacobi believes there is always potential for things to get worse if care is not taken. 

“We hope Australia and China can get back to talking directly to each other as soon as possible,” he told Rural News

“It does no good for New Zealand to see close friends and partners at odds with each other.  Both China and Australia have recently signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), as has New Zealand – we should all focus more on deepening our co-operation in this way.”

China remains New Zealand’s biggest export market.

In 2020, New Zealand’s exports to China exceeded $16.7 billion, which was more than double that of our next biggest export market, Australia. The top three exports were dairy products (milk powder, butter, and cheese), wood (logs, wood, and wood articles), meat (meat and edible offal).

Last week, Fonterra chief executive Miles Hurrell said the dairy co-operative has a strong reliance on China and is watching geopolitical tensions closely.

“But we don’t get our nose involved in such disputes,” he says.

Jacobi doesn’t expect China to target NZ companies or products.

“There would be no reason for China to do this,” he says.

He also points out that NZ products enjoy a great reputation in China.

“We maintain positive political relations despite occasional disagree­ments. There is no reason for this to change.”

Earlier this month, the NZ Government raised concerns about China’s use on social media of a doctored image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to a child’s throat.

Last month, NZ signed a Five Eyes statement critical of a Chinese Government resolution, which led to the disqualification of four pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong.

More like this

Same old story!

NZ International Business Forum executive director Stephen Jacobi says the present FTA negotiations with the UK is depressing, with the same old roadblocks being put up against NZ as they were some 40 years ago.

Zespri puts on a brave face

Zespri says it will continue to look at ways of controlling the illegal growing of its SunGold kiwifruit in China.

Seeking future trading partners

The New Zealand International Business Forum (NZBIF) has started the search for the next tranche of countries that we could negotiate a free trade agreement (FTA) with.

Fonterra milking it in China

Fonterra is enjoying solid returns from its China business as the country pushes the benefits of dairy during the Covid pandemic.

Cracked China

OPINION: Your old mate reckons Fonterra and its dairy farmer shareholders may well be all cock-a-hoop about the prospects of a near $8 payout this year and one north of $8 next year.

National

West Coast resilience tested

DairyNZ head consulting officer in the South Island, Tony Finch, says his first priority has been to get an accurate…

They have a point!

Beef+Lamb NZ chair Andrew Morrison says he understands why the Groundswell protest was so big.

We messed up - Minister

Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor admits the Government "made mistakes" with its initial freshwater farm plans.

Machinery & Products

Keen on easy-to-use spaceship

Reporoa based Murdoch Agricultural Contracting, owned and operated by couple Harry Murdoch and Samantha Parker, started by targeting a niche.

One-pass cultivator moves 70% less soil

According to Kverneland distributor, Power Farming, the KultiStrip system will bring opportunities to farm environmentally, while improving yields and profitability.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Real or reel?

OPINION: Your canine crusader reckons people should be very skeptical of video footage supplied to TV news by vested interests.

It's coming!

OPINION: This old mutt reckons the 'woke' epidemic - currently rife in left wing and government circles - is now…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter