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Trans-Tasman market important for both sides

Trans-Tasman market important for both sides

A new study confirms that not only is Australia important for New Zealand business but that New Zealand is important for Australian business.

Commerce Minister Margaret Wilson said the New Zealand Australia Economic Interdependence report found that Australian firms saw New Zealand as more flexible and innovative than Australia, having more favourable labour market conditions, and as a safe place to practice international expansion.

"They cite the low barriers to entry and the value of familiar institutions, similar legal systems and ease of operations as key drivers to deeper business connections.

The study found the telecommunications, banking and legal services industries have been instrumental in facilitating integration and in turn have been stimulated by it.

The study found no fundamental blockages to trans-Tasman trade and investment.

"It is important, however, that we continue the momentum built up over the last two years to reduce unnecessary costs and remove remaining hassles to business," Margaret Wilson said.

"In an important step towards enhancing trans-Tasman business leaders' relationships, the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum will consider this weekend how the already close Australia and New Zealand relationship can be further strengthened and deepened. Copies of the study will be sent to forum participants. Its insights and reflections may provide a basis for discussion.

"In another step, in this year's Budget the government has provided $980,000 over four years for a senior Ministry of Economic Development official to be based in the New Zealand High Commission in Canberra. This will enable the Ministry to lift the intensity of its efforts and to support the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's work to promote economic development and reduce regulatory barriers, and to exploit advantages of being on the ground in Australia.

The appointee, Guy Beatson, starts his role in July this year.

The study is available online:

Who undertook the study?

Law and Economic Consulting Group in Wellington in partnership with ACIL Tasman in Melbourne.

What did it involve?

An in-depth search of the literature on economic integration at the firm level, the construction of a framework to explain New Zealand-Australian integration and in depth qualitative interviews with up to 40 companies across a number of sectors.

What is the Leadership Forum?

The Forum, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will involve up to 70 business and other participants from New Zealand and Australia who have been invited consider and lead debate on the transTasman relatonship. It will take place in Wellington on 14-15 May and will be jointly chaired Kerry McDonald, Chairman of the Bank of New Zealand and Margaret Jackson, Chairman of Qantas on the Australian side. What work has already been done on greater co-ordination of the trans-Tasman business framework and what further work is planned? Considerable work over the years has advanced the co-ordination agenda. Today the key areas are reviewing outdated rules of origin; the review of the trans-Tasman recognition Arrangement which provides scope for deepening integration in the goods and in relation to registered occupations; business law co-ordination, in particular mutual recognition of securities offerings, accounting standards, approaches to insolvency; competition and intellectual property policy co-ordination; and banking regulation.

What did Australian business see as the major benefits of opening up in New Zealand?

It was equivalent to adding another substantive market the size of another state such as New South Wales or Victoria at relative low cost compared to developing other markets in the region.

What are some of the key barriers faced by Australian businesses setting up in New Zealand?

Notably Australian businesses did not identify particular barriers. This partly reflects the depth of integration that has already occurred which makes it easy to operate here. They identify improved telecommunication integration as one area for attention.

What did New Zealand business see as the major benefits of opening up in Australia?

Market size. Good fit with their expansion objectives and capabilities.

What are some of the key barriers faced by New Zealand businesses setting up in Australia?

Many of these are associated with the smallness of our firms and the inherent difficulty of breaking into a much larger and more complex market.


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