The vice president of the world’s biggest trade expo, The Canton Trade Fair, has praised New Zealand as being one of the world’s most proactive nations when it comes to building trade ties with China.
Wang Yanhua, VP of the China Foreign Trade Centre, spoke at a trade conference in Auckland recently, saying, “New Zealand’s export success is not simply based on its capacity to sell into the Chinese market; but also its ability to understand the Chinese market.
“Since the commencement of free trade negotiations between our nations, more than 20,000 New Zealanders have attended the Canton Trade Fair. They stand apart because they don’t simply come to Canton to buy and sell goods; but to forge partnerships and build relationships. That sends a clear message, to both China and the rest of the world, that New Zealand is open for business.”
In 2013 China overtook Australia as New Zealand’s top trading partner; and since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement, Statistics New Zealand figures show the total value of bilateral trade in goods has nearly tripled (from $7.9 billion to $18.2 billion).
In the last year alone the increase was 25 percent and Wang believes there’s even more upside to that growth. “The Canton Trade Fair is an ideal forum in which New Zealand businesses can take advantage of the types of opportunities identified in the NZ Inc China strategy,” he said.
The Canton Trade Fair gives priority to hi-tech, low-carbon, eco-friendly and energy efficient exhibitors; and New Zealand is recognized as a world leader in these areas. As part of the concerted push towards building a ‘Created in China’ brand, more than 200 specialist designers and design companies will be represented at the upcoming Spring Session of the Canton Trade Fair which runs in three phases from April 15 to May 5.
While modern communications help facilitate trade, Wang says there is no substitute for personal contact, “The bedrock of business is personal relationships. To quote the New Zealand government’s Opening Doors to China policy paper ‘make friends first; make money later’.
“We have come to New Zealand to say ‘Kia ora’ to our friends, to share in their success and to explore ways to ensure a bright future for all. In China we say ‘Ni Hao’ and we look forward to welcoming innovative and internationally competitive New Zealand businesses to the 115th Canton Trade Fair.”
While speaking at the Rendezvous Grand Hotel earlier this month, Wang Yanhua had the opportunity for an impromptu meeting with PM John Key, who was also speaking at a separate function in the same hotel.