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Trade deficit increases with EU – Media release

New Zealand’s two-way trade with the European Union (EU) was $22.2 billion for the year ended March 2018, Stats NZ said today. The EU is New Zealand’s third-largest market for trading goods and services.

China remains New Zealand’s top trading partner (maintaining this rank since the December 2017 year), followed by Australia. China, Australia, and the EU account for nearly half of New Zealand’s total trade with the rest of the world.

Two-way trade measures the total amount of goods and services New Zealand imports and exports with the rest of the world. For the year ended March 2018, New Zealand’s two-way trade with China was valued at $26.9 billion, while that with Australia was at $25.9 billion.

EU trade deficit increases while China and Australia remain in surplus

“In recent history we have continued to import more from the EU than we have exported to them, while our trade balance with China switched from a deficit to a surplus in 2013,” international statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said. “Since 2009 we have maintained a trade surplus with Australia.”

In the March 2018 year, almost one-fifth of New Zealand’s imports came from the EU ($13.4 billion). This high value of imports is what drives New Zealand’s trade deficit with the EU. A trade deficit is when imports are greater than exports. Top imports from the EU were vehicles, parts, and accessories, mechanical machinery and equipment, and transportation services.

New Zealand exported $8.8 billion worth of goods and services to the EU for the year ended March 2018. The top goods exports were food based, with meat accounting for almost one-third of total goods exports to the EU, while fruit and wine made up almost a quarter. The largest service exports to the EU included travel (expenditure in New Zealand by tourists from the EU), transportation, and other business services, with travel making up the majority.

Trade surpluses with China and Australia

New Zealand exports to China totalled $15.3 billion in the March 2018 year, led by dairy products. Dairy product exports totalled $4.0 billion, accounting for one-quarter of New Zealand’s exports to China.

Travel services continue to be the most valuable export to Australia. Travellers from Australia spent $2.6 billion in New Zealand in the year ended March 2018.


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