Despite the lack of publicity New Zealand’s relationship with Japan has received of late, Japan remains a crucial partner for our country within Asia. This was the message from the Prime Minister yesterday in his address to the Japan New Zealand Business Council at their annual conference.
“At all levels, New Zealand’s relationship with Japan is one of our strongest and warmest.”
Key spoke of his visit with Japanese Prime Minister Noda earlier in the year, speaking of the opportunity to build on their already strong relationship.
“We think we can build an even closer relationship between New Zealand and Japan, we are very committed to it, and we want to see it go from strength to strength.”
“Part of that is political – our governments will continue to work together in a number of areas.”
“Defence and security ties between Japan and New Zealand have developed significantly over recent years.”
Key also spoke of how important Japan is to the New Zealand economy at a private level and his hopes for building on the relationship.
“[Japan is] our fourth-largest trading partner and our fourth-largest source of foreign investment.”
“Japanese investment has been very beneficial for New Zealand over a number of decades. It has played a vital role, for example, in developing the forestry and fishing industries.”
“New Zealand is a net food exporter, while Japan is the world’s largest net food importer. Our two economies therefore have a natural fit.”
TPP and open trade with Japan was on the agenda, using China as an example of what can be achieved with free trade.
“Since 2008, when we signed a free trade agreement with China, our exports to that country have trebled. Part of that change is a story about China’s impressive growth as it continues to develop. But it’s equally a story about trade access and openness.”
“In my recent visits to Japan, the feedback I’ve had from business community is that they are very supportive of a free trade agreement with New Zealand, either bilaterally or as part of the TPP.”
“The main hurdle to progressing an FTA with Japan – under whatever auspices – is undoubtedly a sensitivity around agriculture.”
“As I’ve previously said, New Zealand supports Japan’s interest in joining the negotiations when it is ready to do so, and able to commit to the same high level of ambition shared by the existing 11 TPP participants.”