29 Feb 2012

China overtakes Australia as top import source

6:10 am on 29 February 2012

China is now New Zealand's number one source of imports, having overtaken Australia.

Imports from China totalled about $7.5 billion last year, about $200 million more than from Australia.

Former Labour Party minister Jim Sutton helped negotiate a free trade deal with China in 2008 and says the deal is paying dividends in terms of food exports from New Zealand, so the trade is two way.

But Council of Trade Unions chief economist Bill Rosenberg says exports to China from Australia rose by the same amount, suggesting the rise is unrelated to the Free Trade deal.