MP emphasises Asian trade ties
The importance of Asia for New Zealand exporters took Waikato MP Lindsay Tisch to recent international talks in Japan.
Mr Tisch was this country’s sole representative at the 20th annual meeting of the Asia-pacific Parliamentary Forum, involving 23 nations, in Tokyo.
This was Mr Tisch’s eighth time attending the meeting and his sixth as New Zealand team leader. The Japanese, as founders of the forum, hosted the milestone 20th anniversary meeting.
Mr Tisch spoke about emergency management, particularly relating to disaster relief, and trade, and was also on the drafting committee responsible for refining and writing meeting resolutions.
In his speech on co-operation and disaster prevention Mr Tisch looked at Japan’s earthquake and tsunami last March, followed by two postFebruary 22 aftershocks in New Zealand.
Lessons learnt in the Christchurch quakes could be used at a Asia-pacific regional level, he said.
Outside of the forum, Mr Tisch met with earthquake experts who told him New Zealand had ‘‘performed very well in Christchurch’’. He also continued the push for free trade. ‘‘ New Zealand is committed to creating opportunities for economic growth by opening markets and creating market opportunities for our exporters.’’
Looking at New Zealand’s huge scope for the future in the Asia-pacific region, Mr Tisch said 43 per cent of this country’s overseas trade is now conducted in Asia, mainly in dairy products.
Markets in China and Mongolia continue grow.
‘‘Trade in goods and services lies at the core of New Zealand’s interactions with other countries at around 28 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product),’’ said Mr Tisch.
‘‘New Zealand’s small size and distance from major world markets exacerbates the challenges of breaking into and competing in these markets.
‘‘As our competitors gain preferential advantage through agreements with countries where New Zealand has significant markets, New Zealand much match this or find its own exporters disadvantaged.’’
Mr Tisch said a long-term goal is a possible ‘‘free trade area’’ of the Asia-pacific.