MP em­pha­sises Asian trade ties

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By STEVE ED­WARDS

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.

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