Trade in goods with China shows rapid growth

The New Zealand–China Free Trade Agreement took effect in October 2008. Then, China was our fourth-largest export market for goods, with total exports to the country valued at $2.1 billion.
  • Image, containers and cranes in Shenzhen harbor, China.

    China moves up the ranks

    In 2012 China became our second-largest export market, ranked just below Australia, with the United States and Japan a distant third and fourth, respectively. Our demand for Chinese goods also rose. In 2008, the country was our second-largest supplier of imported goods, just after Australia. This ranking changed four years later as China overtook Australia to become our main imports partner.

    Exports to China soar to $6.1 billion in 2012

    Total exports to China have tripled since 2008, rising from $2.1 billion to reach $6.1 billion in 2012. This contrasts with exports to Australia, which rose just $1.3 billion (14 percent) over the same period.

    The most-exported commodity to China in 2012 was milk powder, butter, and cheese products, with a total of $2.2 billion exported – up $1.8 billion from 2008. The 2012 exports amounted to 19 percent of our total exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese for that year. This contrasts sharply with the $406 million of dairy products we sold to China in 2008 (just 4.6 percent of our total exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese).

    Logs, wood, and wood articles came second as China’s demand for these products increased in 2012. We sold $1.1 billion worth of logs, wood, and wood articles to China in 2012, up $867 million from 2008.

    China surpasses Australia as New Zealand’s main imports partner

    In 2012, total imports from China rose to $7.7 billion, up $1.8 billion (31 percent) from $5.8 billion in 2008. In contrast, imports from Australia fell to $7.2 billion, down $1.4 billion from 2008.

    Mechanical machinery and equipment topped our list of imported goods from China in 2012. Our demand for this rose strongly, with imports from China valued at $1.5 billion, up $469 million (46 percent) from 2008. The rise was led by computers, which was up $294 million from 2008.

    Electrical machinery and equipment was the second most-imported commodity from China in 2012, with imports valued at $1.4 billion. This was a rise of $306 million (29 percent) from 2008, and was led by telephones, up $235 million.

    All comparisons made in this article are between the year ended June 2008 and year ended June 2012.

    Source: Statistics New Zealand

The most exported commodity to China in 2012 was milk powder, butter, and cheese products.
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