Aucklandâ€™s mayor is leading his first trade delegation, and with his sights firmly focused on Asia, his is set his sails for China.
Len Brownâ€™s overdue visit to China next week is expected open doors for Auckland businesses to one of New Zealandâ€™s most important trading partners.
The mayor is joined by councillor Richard Northey and representatives from 28 Auckland businesses and organisations that will visit five cities in China.
The mission coincides with the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries and comes on the back of ongoing union issues at Ports of Auckland which handles cargo the equivalent to 13% of the New Zealand’s total GDP – twice as much as any other New Zealand port.
China is Auckland’s second largest trading partner.
â€œWe have selected businesses from amongst our priority sectors â€“ infrastructure, tourism, education, film, biotech and investment,” says Len Brown. “These companies are from sectors that together represent 58% of the Auckland economy.
Mayors and local government officials are highly respected in China, and being part of a mayoral-led delegation will give Auckland businesses access they may not have independently.
Delegates will travel to Guangzhou, Qingdao, Beijing, Ningbo and Shanghai from April 10 â€“ 20.
In September last year, New Zealand signed two bilateral arrangements with China – one to improve market access for apples into China and second to boost scientific cooperation on fresh water management and protection.
“The protocol on New Zealandâ€™s apple exports into China clarifies pest management conditions and will give greater certainly for New Zealand apple exporters,” New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister Bill English then said.
New Zealand also has three commercial agreements with China. A clean energy joint venture between Chinaâ€™s steel producers Shaogang and New Zealand company LanzaTech, which develops technology to convert waste gas to ethanol, will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions of steel making in China.
A memorandum of understanding between PwC (formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers) and the China Development Bank, could result in greater co-operation on major development projects, including in Canterbury.
A cultural agreement between China Radio International and World TV Limited, provides new Chinese language content and editorial resources to the station, which broadcasts in New Zealand.
New Zealand and China:
A Free Trade Agreement between the two countries was signed in 2008, the first between China and a developed country.
135,062 Chinese tourists visited New Zealand in the year ending August 2011. China is now the New Zealandâ€™s 4th largest source of inbound tourism behind Australia, UK and the USA.
Chinese students in the Auckland region represent the largest source of fee-paying students in Auckland (14,068 or 25% to December 2010).