Otago Daily Times

China’s desire for more trade ‘positive’


Pat English, formerly New Zealand’s trade commission­er in China and also a former executive director of the New Zealand China Council, said while there had been ‘‘ripples’’ in this country’s trade with China, the announceme­nt was positive.

Asked on Morning Report if Mr

Xi’s comments were credible, he said if the policy was being outlined in the Apec forum, there was no doubt it was true, even if it would be interprete­d and implemente­d in a Chinese way.

New Zealand has 0.2% of global trade and 0.6% of China’s total imports, so any positive statement from China on trade could be welcomed, Mr English said.

In a statement issued on Thursday night, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman warned countries to stay out of China’s affairs saying: ‘‘They should be careful or their eyes will be plucked out.

‘‘The Chinese never make trouble and are never afraid of anything,’’ Zhao Lijian told journalist­s in Beijing yesterday, saying it did not ‘‘matter if they had five or 10 eyes’’.

Mr English said: ‘‘We seem to want to say to China: ‘Open up your doors and trade with us and buy from us, particular­ly buy from us’, and then when China takes a stand on other issues that are important to them we have to

say: ‘well, China, you need to back off’.

‘‘. . . We can’t manage these sorts of situations through the media, and in the media . . . if you’re in the room with China sitting down talking about it, discussing those issues with China, that’s how you bring it to the table.’’

Mr English said the recent statement by the Five Eyes network criticisin­g China’s actions in Hong Kong should be taken up with the Prime Minister. — RNZ

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