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Turning the Red Tape Blue: National’s Plans to Increase Exports

Elections can be times of hyperbole, carefully massaged budgets, time frames and projected outcomes.  Voters are left to decipher which policy objectives will bring positive change, build on the status quo or may contain fishhooks.

The reelection of National is a good time to consider how New Zealand is tracking toward the goal of doubling the value of NZ exports in the next decade.

The target National has set for New Zealand is to increase the ratio of our exports to GDP from 30% to 40% by 2025. This means doubling our exports. In the 5 years to 2012 total exports grew 5.6%, spiking to 8.5% in 2013 driven by exports to China rising by 51% predominantly from dairy and forestry.

The recent softening of export returns for dairy farmers and the relative slow down in the Chinese economy have raised questions as to the sustainability of export growth.  What will sustain our trajectory toward the export goals?

Looking at other sectors outside the primary industries ambitious growth targets have been set for tourism, manufacturing, technology, services and food and beverage.  Are the policy levers in place robust enough to drive the cumulative 100% increase from these exports needed over the next 10 years?

John Key’s ‘Keys to Exporting Success’:

– More funding shall be given to businesses currently exporting or looking to export in the future, with an additional investment of  $69million in the NZTE over the next four years announced by National’s earlier this year.

– FTA negotiations will continue with Korea, India and Russia, the Gulf Co-operation council and regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership countries.

– Continue advancing the TPP which will reduce trade barriers and aim to increase exports by an estimated $5billion

– To continue building the NZ Brand Story to leverage our competitive advantages and informing the world of New Zealand’s                         unique exports.

The above will no doubt increase our global linkages; reducing trade barriers via free trade agreements will make it easier for our land way down under to gain traction in the global market. The NZ Brand Story will also provide Kiwi companies with a foundation to leverage their branding and for some firms; the substantial increase in funding into NZTE will make exporting a reality.

Whilst these policies may not increase our exports exponentially initially, there are optimistic times ahead as Kiwi companies will be provided with the framework to move forward, whether or not it is in baby steps.

Do you agree? Are these moves enough to boost our exports twofold?  What else do you think needs to be done?

Exports increased $20 billion in the 23 years to 2014.  Is a doubling of exports on the cards by 2025?


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