30 Mar 2005

New Zealand blames trade imbalance with New Caledonia on cost structure

8:14 pm on 30 March 2005

The New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, has attributed New Zealand's trade imbalance with New Caledonia to the high costs in the French territory and to the size of its nickel industry.

Mr Goff has completed a two-day visit to Noumea and has flown to French Polynesia.

He says as nickel accounts for most of New Caledonia's exports, New Zealand is limited in absorbing that product.

"This is a country that has a per capita GDP higher than New Zealand and certainly a cost structure that makes it harder for New Caledonia to export other products in a competitive world."

New Zealand's foreign minister, Phil Goff.