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Chamber of Commerce Calls For Growth Strategy

Auckland Chamber of Commerce

“We suggest a tailored programme aimed at doubling to 16,000 the number of SMEs with well-established offshore markets by 2003.”

Statistics released today confirming a worsening trade deficit are of no surprise to the Chamber of Commerce, and reinforce earlier calls for a greater commitment to build a bigger growth-based economy.

Michael Barnett, Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, said that the key to reducing the deficit is to create an economy able to earn increased foreign exchange earnings, and to do so by a series of strategies linking government and the private sector in partnerships designed to encourage export-led industries across all sectors with potential to grow.

“An excellent example is the tourism industry which has made considerable progress in partnership with government in recent years. Tourism has become New Zealand’s largest foreign exchange earning sector, but the potential exists for other sectors to lift their international trading performance and earn more for New Zealand," said Mr Barnett.

If New Zealand is to brand itself as a nation that survives by international trade, it must do more to encourage small-medium enterprises to seriously get into exporting. Statistics show that only about 8000 SMEs have well-established international markets. “That is less than 1% of registered businesses in New Zealand.

“The potential for increased export-based businesses is not just in the so-called knowledge economy areas, but across the board,” said Mr Barnett. “We have some of the best trades and skills in the world building super yachts, for example.”

“As I have urged government on a number of occasions, there is a compelling case for government and the private sector to work in partnership to create an export-led growth strategy with pre-agreed targets on the size of the economy we want to create.” Attractive tax policies that support more long term investment and growth should be part of the mix, he urged.

For more information, contact; Michael Barnett Ph (09) 309 6100 or 021 631 150

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