2015 Session 2

Is China (and NZ) Heading for a Hard Landing? Will the TPP and Australia’s China FTA Change the Competitive Environment for NZ with China?

Michael Barnett (Moderator), CEO, Auckland Chamber of Commerce

Huang Xiaoguang, CEO of ANZ China, illustrated the scale of the Chinese opportunity that exists for companies like ANZ. The Chinese middle class will swell to 600 million by 2020, making it paramount that a “new normal” is found, with a focus on consumption-driven growth as opposed to the export-led model to date.

Economist Shamubeel Eaqub sounded a warning though that we risk losing the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of this middle class if we don’t deal with “our racist attitudes towards immigration and capital inflows.” These are the natural next flows of economic integration and would offer “big waves of economic prosperity to New Zealand.”

Stephen Jacobi, from his vantage point as Executive Director of the NZ International Business Forum, was able to shed light on China’s interest in the TPP negotiations, recognised by many as part of broader integration of the Asia-Pacific region.

Although Australia signed its own free trade agreement with China last year, Jacobi stressed that New Zealand needs to protect its first-mover advantage with China, and should “remain ahead of the changing game” by pursuing an upgrade of our own FTA as soon as possible.

The panel emphasised that the opportunities in China are vast. Even if China’s growth falls from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, the opportunities for New Zealand remain enormous. The challenge for New Zealand is to make the most of the opportunity – not only trade, but critically gaining access to supply chains and relationships.

Questions for our readers:

  • Do you think the Chinese economy is heading for a hard landing? What is the viewpoint from your business perspective?
  • What should be included in the upgrade the NZ free trade agreement with China?
  • Are ‘behind the border barriers’ stopping NZ from realising its full trade potential with China?
  • Is NZ really racist towards Chinese immigrants?
  • Are there real ‘demand and supply’ housing issues in Auckland?