Prime Minister John Key launched the NZ Inc ASEAN Strategy last week, which aims to boost investment, trade and economic returns from the region.
“The 10 countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations present us with opportunities to grow our trade and political relationships in our neighbourhood. It’s a region whose 620 million people account for nearly 10 per cent of the world’s population,” says Key.
“Already ASEAN as a bloc is New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner and over the past 10 years New Zealand’s total trade with ASEAN has grown at nine percent per year on average.
“This NZ Inc ASEAN Strategy sets out ambitious goals for New Zealand over the next five years, including growing annual visitor expenditure from the region by two-thirds, from $289m to $470m, and boosting New Zealand’s exports to the region by 40 per cent by the end of 2017.
“It also underlines the importance of building on our already strong political and security relationships across ASEAN, including an increased diplomatic presence in the region and more work together on disaster relief.
“New Zealand needs to be making the most of a young, increasingly urban, affluent and quality conscious region only half the distance from our traditional European customers.
“We are in a sound position to boost our relationship with the region. We have a free trade agreement in place, a strong shared history, and are geographically close,” says Key.
The NZ Inc ASEAN Strategy is one of a number focusing on countries or regions of key importance to New Zealand over the next five years. It provides the framework for government and business to work together to do business in the region.