29 May 2009

Opportunities for NZ exporters seen in China's slowdown

9:51 am on 29 May 2009

New Zealand exporters say a slowdown in economic growth in China is presenting opportunities for their businesses.

China's economy is so far defying the recession gripping most of the world's leading economies.

However, its growth rate has slowed dramatically to just over 6% for the first quarter of this year.

But with or without the recession, the New Zealand-China Trade Association says China will continue to grow and New Zealand needs to make sure it's part of that.

The Financial Times says the Chinese leadership is trying to move its economy away from being so export dependent, by attempting to boost domestic consumption.

Fonterra says that bodes well for its products in China. That's despite it being caught in a contaminated milk scandal last year which crippled Sanlu, which was 43% owned by Fonterra.

In fact, Fonterra's export arm has gained from the scandal as Chinese consumers distrustful of domestic supplies have turned to imported milk products.

Despite San Lu's bankruptcy, Fonterra's managing director for China, Phillip Turner, says the company has a substantial, growing and profitable business in China.

Wool exporter Seguard Masural says it's doing well as most of its exports are for the domestic Chinese market.

As for the international education market, Education New Zealand, Robert Stevens, says there has been steady growth out of China, with student numbers up 6% this year.

Overall, chief executive Robert Stevens says 17% more students are coming in.

And for more on the impact of the recession on New Zealand's trade with China - listen to Insight on Sunday after the 8am news on Radio New Zealand National.