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Jim Sutton Speech to Trade Centre

Jim Sutton Speech to Trade Centre
2.30pm, 29 September 105 Queen St, Auckland

Ladies and Gentlemen: thank you for inviting me to speak here today. I am always pleased to join in on celebrations of success, particularly export success!

As you are all well aware, New Zealand is a trading nation.

We depend on trading success with other countries to maintain our standard of living.

In a blizzard of negativity and the doom and gloom surrounding economic issues, it is sometimes hard to find things to feel good about. Our country ? particularly our business leaders ? seems to be sinking into a blue funk of depression.

I'm currently acting Finance Minister and for my sins, I am responsible for gdp figures out today.

Again, these aren't the most cheery, but there are positive signs. I expect that gdp figures for the current quarter will show a significant lift, driven by the primary production sector.

The latest statistics of merchandise exports also shine a bright light into the gloom as well. New Zealand merchandise exports grew by 13.4 percent to $24.7 billion in the year ending June 2000, the biggest annual increase in eight years.

That figure does not include exports of services, which are expected to add at least another $8 billion to that figure, according to Trade New Zealand.

That strong export growth was helped by the competitive exchange rate, but was also the result of increases in export volumes to our main overseas markets.

All major product groups showed increases during the year, with food and beverage exports up 7 percent to $11.7 billion, manufactured products up 7 percent to $5.9 billion, primary products up 20 percent to $3.9 billion, metals up 18 percent to $1.5 billion, and industrial raw materials up 28 percent to $735 million.

Notable individual performers during the year included wood (up 37 percent to $1.97 billion), aluminum (up 21 percent to $1 billion), meat (up 19 percent to $3.42 billion) and industrial and electrical machinery (up 19 percent to $1.2 billion).

Australia, the USA, Japan, South Korea and the UK continue to dominate as New Zealand's largest export destinations, accounting for 59 percent of total exports in the year ending June. Of the big five, South Korea, the USA and Japan also number amongst our 20 fastest growing export markets.

Australia remains New Zealand's largest export market by some considerable margin, with exports to our CER partner growing significantly since 1991. Exports in the year ending June totalled $5.13 billion, a 14 percent increase on the previous year.

Notable increases were recorded in dairy products, wool and live animals. Australians also developed a taste for New Zealand water and alcoholic beverages, with that figure up 87 percent to $84 million.

The USA cemented its place as New Zealand's number two export market in the year ending June, with exports up by 27 percent to $3.64 billion. That figure was fuelled by big increases in beef exports (up 49 percent to $891 million), casein (up 14 percent to $439 million), wood (up 29 percent to $272 million) and total manufactured products (up 52 percent to $829 million).

Exports to Japan rose by almost 17 percent to $3.34 billion during the year and are now almost level with the high experienced in 1995. Likewise, exports to South Korea rose by 32 percent to $1.16 billion and have now surpassed export levels witnessed before the Asian economic crisis. Japan and South Korea both recorded increases in food and beverages, primary products, in particular wood, and aluminium.

Exports to the UK, New Zealand's fifth largest market were also up, growing by almost 3 percent to $1.36 billion.

New Zealand's fastest growing export market for the year ending June 2000 was Indonesia, up 70 percent to $321.2 million. The big export winners to that country were meat (up 290 percent to $19.5 million), fruit and vegetables (up 76 percent to $6.6 million), wood (up 57 percent to $77 million), iron and steel (up 91 percent to $13 million) and total manufactured products (up 65 percent to 21.9 million). Indonesia is now New Zealand's 14th largest export market, one of 10 Asian countries that make the top 20.

On a regional basis, strong growth was shown in South East Asia (up 23 percent to $1.95 billion), North Asia (up 22 percent to $6.57 billion), North & Central American (up 19 percent to $4.3 billion), Australia (up 14 percent to $5.13 billion) and the Pacific and South Africa up 6 percent to $781 million.

In the year to June the Middle East, South Asia and Africa region experienced modest growth of 1 percent to $1.2 billion.

Exports to South America fell slightly in the year ending June (down 4 percent to $3.8 billion), largely a result of a 10 percent decrease in milk powder exports which make up 50 percent of exports to the region.

The Government is in the process of implementing a Latin American strategy to increase the relationship between New Zealand and the countries in South America ? not just through trade, but through cultural and social exchanges as well.

Speaking as Trade Negotiations Minister, it is important to me to encourage exporters and those business people thinking about exporting. A lot of that encouragement comes in the form of good information.

The New Zealand Trade Centre is a permanent exhibition of New Zealand products for export. The aim of the centre is to gain export inquiry for the companies that display their products.

Launched by the Prime Minister in July, it is already the largest directory of New Zealand export companies.

The centre is a private initiative that is totally funded by the exporters who exhibit and by major sponsorship from HSBC. Exhibitors range from the NZ Dairy Board, Fletchers, and CHH, to small cottage industries.

The NZTC enjoys a close relationship with Trade NZ who have a display at the centre. The NZTC has provided 34 new clients to Trade NZ in the last six months and each month the centre puts on a function that allows Trade NZ to brief exporters on a particular market.

We have heard from managing director Travis Field about the next steps in the development of the portal which is to make the worlds best trade services available online to NZs small and medium sized enterprises.

I offer the Trade Centre and all associated with it my congratulations.

Office of Hon Jim Sutton

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