5 Jul 2010

NZ-China trade far from fulfilled - Key

10:12 am on 5 July 2010

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand is a long way from fulfilling the potential of its free trade agreement with China.

Mr Key is on a 10 day trip to Asia and wants to focus in talks with the Chinese leadership on how to expand the trade relationship between the two countries.

He told Morning Report the rapidly growing Chinese middle class is willing and able to pay for quality New Zealand food.

Mr Key said there is no reason why the current $10 billion export market to China should not substantially increase.

The Prime Minister goes to Beijing on Wednesday for formal talks with the Chinese leadership.

China is New Zealand's second largest trading partner.

Economic opportunity

The Wellington Employers Chamber of Commerce says Asia is our economic opportunity for the future and part of that means being open to foreign investment.

Spokesman Charles Finny told Morning Report China is the reason the global economic crisis was relatively shallow for New Zealand.

He said that while most of New Zealand's other markets were collapsing, there was a "phenomenal increase" in NZ exports to China.

Mr Finny said exports to China were showing strong growth at around 25%, a year later.

He said he believes China will be want a much broader relationship with New Zealand, as well as ideas and technology.