New Zealand – a beautiful land of hobbits, hills and hospitality

Wed 8 Apr 2015
Posted by: International Trade News


New Zealand – a land famed for its great beauty and its abundance of sheep. It may be half way around the world and in a totally different time zone, but there is something oddly familiar about this glorious country for us Brits.

Boasting a land mass of more than 260,000 square kilometres, New Zealand is about one tenth bigger than the UK, but with a population of 4 million, compared to the UK’s 64.1 million, it is somewhat less populated.

Its economy has transformed in the last twenty years from being agricultural dependent, to one that has diversified sufficiently to compete globally.

Located in the south western Pacific Ocean, New Zealand comprises the North and South islands. There are two dominant cultural groups – those of European descent and the Maori – who descended from the early Polynesian settlers. English is the main language, although around 17 percent of New Zealanders can speak two or more languages – including Mandarin, Hindi and Korean.

Agriculture remains the mainstay of the economy, but manufacturing and tourism also make significant economic contributions, as does its rapidly developing world-class film industry – with New Zealand providing the breath taking backdrop to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

It is a strong advocate for free trade and has developed powerful trade links with Australia, the US, and Japan.  The first developed country to enter into a free trade agreement with China, New Zealand is heavily dependent on international trade, with its major export partners being Australia (19%), China (15%), US (9%), Japan (7.6%) and UK (3.3%). This export / import dependency means that the country is an important player in the global marketplace, but it also makes it vulnerable to fluctuating foreign currency figures and to international economic slowdowns.

The largest contributor to New Zealand’s economy is its service sector, followed by manufacturing, construction, farming and raw material extraction. Tourism also plays a significant role.  The country’s top five export products are concentrated milk (15%), sheep and goat meat (5.7%), butter (4.4%), rough wood (3.9%) and frozen bovine meat (3.8%).

UK exports to New Zealand were worth £630 million in 2013 – a 6.4% increase from 2012 – with automotive, machinery and mechanical appliances, printing, pharmaceutical, food and beverage accounting for much of this figure.

There are many advantages for UK businesses who are considering exporting to New Zealand including a safe, stable and secure business environment and an efficient market-orientated economy. It is therefore not surprising that the 2013 World Bank Doing Business report ranked New Zealand third in the world for ease of doing business and first for ease of starting a business, whilst the Wall Street Journal rated New Zealand the fourth freest economy in the world.

The message to all prospective UK exports is clear ‘Haere mai – Welcome! Come!’

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