New Zealand’s two-way trade with APEC reached $102 billion for the year ended September 2017, says Stats NZ.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum brings together 21 Pacific Rim member economies, including Australia, China, and the United States – three of our main trading partners.
"Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing economic region in the world," says international statistics manager Tehseen Islam.
"Over the last decade, New Zealand's two-way trade with APEC has grown $31 billion, and a $2.6 billion deficit is now a $4 billion surplus."
APEC is the Asia-Pacific's main economic forum where a number of trade agreements are reached. Talks are currently underway at APEC on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Eleven of the 21 APEC countries are in the trade talks.
"In the September 2017 year, New Zealand had a $4 billion surplus with APEC – we exported $53 billion worth of goods and services to APEC, and imported $49 billion.
"Most of our surplus with APEC countries is due to our $3 billion surplus with China. This is mainly due to New Zealand's exports of dairy products to China, and spending by visitors from China in New Zealand."
Dairy products our largest export to APEC nations
Dairy products are our largest export to the combined APEC nations. New Zealand exported $9 billion worth of milk powder, butter, and cheese to these countries in the September 2017 year, $2 billion short of the $11 billion high exported in the September 2014 year.
China is New Zealand’s largest export market for milk powder, butter, and cheese, totalling 28 percent – nearly $4 billion in the September 2017 year. Our next-largest export market for these products is Algeria, which makes up 5 percent. APEC countries (China, Australia, and Malaysia) account for three of our top five dairy export markets.
Vehicles lead the way in imports
New Zealand’s main imports from APEC are vehicles, machinery, and equipment. New Zealand imports a large amount of cars and trucks from Japan, Thailand, the US, and South Korea, all of which are APEC nations.
New Zealand imported $2 billion worth of electrical machinery and equipment from China in the September 2017 year, and nearly $4 billion worth of mechanical machinery and equipment from China, the US, and Japan combined.
Travel spending contributes to trade surplus
Travel also contributes significantly to our trade surplus with the APEC nations. Visitors and students from APEC nations provided $9 billion to the New Zealand economy in the September 2017 year through exports of travel services, mainly by visitors from Australia, China, and the US.
Spending by New Zealanders visiting APEC nations (imports of travel services) totalled $4 billion in the September 2017 year, with personal travel accounting for $3 billion of this. The majority of New Zealanders’ personal travel spending was in Australia, followed by the US. Visitors from the US added $1 billion to the New Zealand economy in the September 2017 year, while New Zealand visitors added $531 million to the US economy.