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The latest trade data from Statistics New Zealand confirms the increasingly high-value nature of the trade relationship between New Zealand and the United States.

Executive Director of the NZUS Council Jordan Small said while these figures do not yet fully capture the impact of COVID-19 they do still reflect the established direction of trade with the United States where some of our fastest growing exports are in the form of bits and bytes transported by fibre-optic cable.

“The US is New Zealand’s most important market for commercial services and New Zealand is a significant consumer of US commercial services. We’re trading in CAD drawings for 3D-printed rocket engines, architectural and engineering plans, music scores, cinematic and small screen productions, agreements for plant variety rights, financial services and software for accounting, food production and cinema management.”

Two-way trade has been growing consistently over the past five years and today is valued at $19.4 billion. New Zealand sells $4 billion of services of all types to the United States – 41 percent of all exports to the United States. In comparison, less than 20 percent of exports to China are services and this has been decreasing over time.

Some of New Zealand’s fastest growing exports to the US are:

  • 258% increase in intellectual property exports since 2015
  • 60% increase in ICT services since 2015
  • 50% increase in business service exports since 2015
  • 73% increase in wine exports since 2015

“Trade with the US is driving change in the New Zealand economy towards high value goods and services that deliver high-paying jobs. The most recent trade data shows that in many of our highest value sectors the US is our number one market. While some of these sectors have been hit hard by COVID-19 we expect that they will recover quickly.

“The US is New Zealand’s largest intellectual property market, and our number one market for telecommunications, computer and information services. The US/New Zealand trade relationship is increasingly characterized by innovation, high value products and a focus on services. This is the knowledge-based, weightless, low-carbon economy we’ve been talking about for years.

The figures also confirm the importance of our goods trade with the United States where meat, dairy and wine continue to represent the majority of our exports. In these more traditional exports we also see innovation through partnerships with US players to deliver the highest quality ingredients to US consumers, brand development, and introducing new plant varieties in to the US market.

“The US and New Zealand are long-standing trading partners who have a shared commitment to fostering innovation, facilitating trade and commerce, and encouraging fair competition,” Small said.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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