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Increase In Non-Traditional Exports To Singapore

Healthy Increase In Non-Traditional Exports To Singapore

The first six months of trade with Singapore under the new Closer Economic Partnership agreement was hardly doom and gloom as painted by the Green Party, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Statistics NZ figures for the first six months of this year show total NZ merchandise exports to Singapore fell by 20.3% to NZ$205.2m from NZ$257.4m in the same period in 2000 (but increased 5% from $195.4m in the corresponding period in 1999).

Total merchandise imports from Singapore rose 27.2% from $246m to $313m (an increase of $67m).

This resulted in a trade deficit of $108m for the first six months.

However, Mr Sutton said, there were reasons for the drop, and there was no need to panic.

"The drop in exports was caused almost wholly by a drop in New Zealand dairy exports to Singapore which fell $63.6m from $105m to $41.4m. Such fluctuations are not unusual and are not of concern as the value of New Zealand dairy exports to the world continues to increase dramatically.

"If the market fluctuation in dairy exports to Singapore is excluded, then non-dairy exports to Singapore increased 7.46% from $152.5m to $163.8 m."

Non-agricultural exports to Singapore increased by 20.6% from $97.8m to $117.9m (and from $83m in the six months to June 1999). Value added machinery exports increased 129% from $11.9m to $27.3 m. Electrical machinery increased 31% from $12.9m to $16.9 m. Optical and measuring instruments increased over 300% from $2m to $7.9 m.

Mr Sutton said the increase in imports was primarily caused by increased oil imports from Singapore which rose from $3.8m to $60.6m. Fluctuations in oil import sourcing are normal and should not be allowed to disguise underlying trade patterns.

"If oil is excluded, then imports from Singapore rose only 4.2% in the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2000. This is less than the increase of 9% in imports from the world in the first six months of this year."

Mr Sutton said that, more importantly, the figures showed that imports of textiles, clothing and footwear actually decreased 17.4% from $433,000 to $358,000. Footwear imports dropped 45% from $61,000 to $34,000.

"Fears that the CEP would result in a flood of TCF imports to NZ claiming duty preference are groundless, as the Government always said would be the case.

"There have been almost no imports of TCF goods from Singapore under CEP tariff preference as these goods do not meet the required rules of origin (that is - of 40% Singapore/NZ value added). Such goods have therefore paid the full normal duty. The claim that the increase in imports can be accounted for by illegal transhipments via Singapore to avoid paying tariffs is completely wrong."

Ends

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