New Zealand aims to agree free trade deals with the UK and EU this year in a bid to diversify its export markets amid rising tensions with China, the Pacific nation’s trade minister has said.
But Damien O’Connor insisted Wellington would continue to expand its trading relationship with Beijing despite “ructions” straining ties between its neighbour Australia and China.
“Any country engaged in commerce sees the value in having diversity of markets, particularly in a world that is increasingly challenged through disruption, climatic events, geopolitical events or whatever,” he told the Financial Times.
“Clearly, China for Australia is an important market as well. And while we are concerned about some of the ructions occurring, we’re just getting on and building on the areas of strength between our two nations.”
China is New Zealand’s largest trade partner, accounting for NZ$19bn (US$13.5bn) exports in the year to the end of March, a quarter of its total exports.
Wellington has managed to avoid the diplomatic disputes that have blighted…