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Travel, kiwifruit, and cars top trade with Japan

New Zealand’s two-way trade with Japan was $8.8 billion for the year ended June 2019, Stats NZ said today.

New Zealand’s top trading partners are China, followed by Australia, the European Union, the United States, and Japan.

Japan is our fifth-largest trading partner for goods and services and is also the host of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which will be the focus for many New Zealanders in the coming months.

In the June 2019 year, New Zealand’s trade balance with Japan was a $347 million surplus. This means New Zealand sold more goods and services to Japan than was bought in return.

Travel and kiwifruit lead exports

Travellers from Japan spent more in New Zealand (travel exports), at $716 million for the June 2019 year, than New Zealanders did in Japan (travel imports), at $120 million.

“Our top export to Japan is travel services, with nearly two-thirds of this coming from spending by international students from Japan,” international statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said.

“In contrast, most spending from New Zealanders travelling to Japan is from holidaymakers. Japan is hosting the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics. These events may attract more New Zealand travellers to Japan.”

In the year ended June 2019, fruit was New Zealand’s second-largest export to Japan, worth $617 million. Of this, kiwifruit made up over 95 percent, worth $590 million, making Japan New Zealand’s largest export market for kiwifruit.

Other top exports to Japan were aluminium and aluminium articles ($607 million); and milk powder, butter, and cheese ($563 million).

Cars drive imports

The top imports from Japan were vehicles, parts, and accessories, valued at $2.3 billion for the June 2019 year. This accounted for 54 percent of New Zealand’s total imports from Japan, led by passenger motor cars at $1.7 billion. Over recent years, the value of New Zealand’s imports of passenger motor cars from Japan has been generally increasing.

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