New opportunities emerge for post COVID-19 cooperation with China, says New Zealand expert

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/6/16 13:32:17

File photo taken on May 10, 2018 shows the view of Auckland city center and Devonport village of north shore, New Zealand. (Xinhua/Guo Lei)

New opportunities for cooperation and bilateral exchange emerge between New Zealand and China in light of the post COVID-19 economic recovery, a New Zealand expert told Xinhua on Monday.

Rachel Maidment, executive director of New Zealand China Council (NZCC), is excited to see a better than expected trade data between New Zealand and China during the COVID-19 period as well as new opportunities that have emerged.

Data from Statistic New Zealand showed that New Zealand's exports to and imports from China from February to the end of May, despite small drops due to COVID-19 when compared to the same period of 2019, have been performing better than 2018 overall, with 5.35 billion and 3.57 billion New Zealand dollars respectively.

Maidment disagreed with people saying that New Zealand is too reliant on trading with China.

"China is and will continue to be a very important market for New Zealand because we have a great deal of complementarity in our systems," she said.

Maidment believed that the data showcased the complementarity between China and New Zealand, while both controlled the COVID-19 situation well.

"Obviously, New Zealand and China have been weather the COVID-19 storm comparatively well, and trade with China has been better than expected," Maidment said, adding that "What New Zealand produces in terms of high quality food, beverage and services, are very important for Chinese consumers, which will continue to be a very important market for New Zealand."

Maidment has also noticed some innovative ways adopted by the sectors that are impacted by the pandemic. "For example, Auckland University is setting up learning centres in China for those who are unable to enter New Zealand due to the border restrictions."

There are also collaborations in industry sectors that have proven to be the next focal point in the post COVID-19 period. New Zealand-China cooperation in the gaming industry, TV content producing, scientific cooperation in clinical testing of cancer treatment and drug discovering, are areas that came into limelight during the pandemic that appeared to be intact.

"These sectors are doing well prior to COVID-19 period, but perhaps not getting much attention. Our two countries have very good complementarity in our systems not only in terms of food, beverage or services. For example, over the last few years, we have seen really exciting collaboration open up in the creative sector," she said.

As an advocate for the Southern Link, which involves routing passengers and multi-modal freight between China and South America via New Zealand, Maidment is also excited to see the route kicking off during the COVID-19 period with two Latin American airliners transited through New Zealand's largest city Auckland for their return journey to China for medical supplies.

"The Southern Link is not only the most efficient way for logistics when compared to the traditional trade route. It is also rethinking the way how we are linked, both as economies and as peoples," she added.

For bilateral cooperation in the future, Rachel Maidment is confident that NZCC will continue to play an important role in bringing together both the public and private sector to promote resilience in China-New Zealand relations and explore new opportunities together.

"We are committed to build strong and resilient relationship between China and New Zealand based on mutual respect. We are operating as the peak body for the relationship, making sure that our public and private sectors are talking and working together for the important issues in our relationship," Maidment said.


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