Trade Minister Tim Groser says massive progress has been made with our Asian trading partners over the last few decades - though he says New Zealand's export performance is still inadequate.
Speaking at the ASEAN business forum in Auckland on Friday, Mr Groser said Asia will be increasingly important to New Zealand.
He says it won't be too long before New Zealand's trading with the region outperforms that with Europe.
Mr Groser says that in the early 1970s, 50% of New Zealand exports went to Europe and less than 5% to South-east Asia. Today, those figures are 13% and 11%.