Boosting NZ's Exports Key Focus For Pm's Britain, Europe Visit

  • Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

"New Zealand will continue to strengthen ties with the United Kingdom and Europe as we gain the best possible access for our exports," Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today, announcing upcoming visits to Britain and Germany.

"While our proximity to Asian markets makes it easier to do business and seventy percent of our exports are traded with the Asia Pacific basin, New Zealand does not have all its eggs in one basket.

"New Zealand needs to continue to put every effort into ensuring we spread our export and promotional efforts. In order to do this I am pleased to announce my upcoming visit to Britain and Germany.

"Now, more than ever, we need to reaffirm the importance of the remaining thirty percent of our trade; and in particular the pivotal role that two-way trade and investment with the United Kingdom, and the rest of the European Union, plays in our economy.

"Last year, our exports to the European Union, at $3.4 billion, exceeded those to all the Americas, were twice our exports to South East Asia, and twice those to China.

"The relationship runs both ways - in turn we source twenty percent of our imports from Europe.

"Maintaining and strengthening this relationship with Europe and Britain is vital if New Zealand's exporters are to continue to increase their market share," Mrs Shipley said.

The Prime Minister will visit London 23-26 January and Bonn, Germany 27-28 January 1999.

"My discussions with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Germany's Chancellor Schroeder, their Ministers and industry leaders in Britain and Germany will provide an opportunity to review, and deepen our bilateral and economic relationships with two of the major members of the European Union.

"Opportunities to lift New Zealand's profile as a destination and partner for tourism, investment and trade will also be at the top of my agenda. In particular our role as Chair of APEC in 1999 will provide a context to discuss how the European Union and APEC can work together to pursue new broad-based multilateral trade negotiations under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation.

"Issues around the strengthening and reform of the international financial system will receive attention as we look for common ground between APEC, the major G7 economies, and the new European monetary system," the Prime Minister concluded.

While in London, Mrs Shipley will also meet with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Second.