New Zealand China Mayoral Forum opens doors for economic benefits

P1070087The inaugural New Zealand China Mayoral Forum will be held today in Auckland, the first of a regular exchange between mayors and governors from the two countries, expected to increase engagement and create significant economic benefits throughout New Zealand.

As part of his official visit to New Zealand, China President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister John Key will today meet with local government leaders, Local Government Zealand (LGNZ) President Lawrence Yule and President of China People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) Li Xiaolin.

Following the Forum, President Xi, Prime Minister Key, Mr Yule and Madame Li will participate in a ceremony acknowledging a new Agreement to establish better connections between New Zealand and the more than 600 cities and provinces in China.

“China is our biggest trading partner and as such our relationship with them is extremely important to our economy. This Forum and Agreement provides a platform for regions, towns and cities across New Zealand to strengthen trade, economic, investment and cultural links with China,” LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says.

“Currently New Zealand faces uneven economic growth with some regions growing faster and attracting population more than others. This agreement is a significant step to effectively building a level of sub-national engagement between the two countries that supports our regional development policy.”

Mr Yule says, “Over the next 10 years China’s outbound investment is projected to exceed $1.25 trillion. We want to ensure that New Zealand, and most importantly our regions, attract some of this investment.”

Chinese mayors have indicated they are most interested in New Zealand opportunities in agriculture, tourism, technology and education.

Several cities have hosted successful mayoral delegations to China in recent years that have resulted in business deals for companies in those regions.

Since the 2008 signing of the free trade agreement with China, New Zealand exports have risen from NZ$2.3 billion to NZ$6.7 billion. The deepening of relationships that this agreement brings opens the door for further trade and investment between the two countries.

“We’re committed to building strong economies and vibrant communities across New Zealand. Having an Agreement with one of the world’s most powerful economies is a significant step to supporting our regional development policy and complements central government’s role to increase regional economic growth across of all of New Zealand.”