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Visit reaffirms value of China – New Zealand relationship

Visit reaffirms value of China - New Zealand relationship

When Minister of Customs, Hon Maurice Williamson and Vice Minister of China Customs, Mr Lu Peijun, met in Wellington last month, they agreed that the two customs administrations would work more closely together to combat the smuggling of pharmaceutical products used to manufacture methamphetamine (‘P’).

The New Zealand Customs Service is working with China's Anti-Smuggling Bureau on a number of initiatives to combat drug trafficking. This will result in New Zealand Customs gaining a better understanding of the supply of methamphetamine, in particular its precursors, and presents an opportunity to disrupt the supply chain from the export end.

Members of the Chinese Anti-Smuggling Bureau visited New Zealand in May to discuss the trafficking of pharmaceuticals containing precursors, and to gain an understanding of Customs' intelligence and targeting operations.

While drug smuggling was high on the agenda during the Vice Minister of China Customs’ two-day visit, the meeting also provided an opportunity to further strengthen the connection between New Zealand and China in all areas of customs activity. The two customs administrations are committed to continuing work to advance further growth in trade, with this year marking the fourth anniversary of the signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

"As China is our largest supplier and our second largest export market, our trade relationship with China is important,” says Mr Williamson. “New Zealand Customs has an excellent working relationship with China Customs and we appreciate their willingness to work cooperatively with us on issues specific to New Zealand's trade. The Vice Minister’s visit has reaffirmed this excellent relationship.”

Mr Williamson commends China Customs’ willingness to approach issues that are specific to New Zealand’s trade, and reiterated New Zealand Customs’ willingness to assist China with any issues it has with New Zealand trade.

“We are committed to working together, in practical ways, to streamline processes. The cooperation between the two customs administrations has helped ensure the success of the FTA,” Mr Williamson says.

Trade with China is becoming increasingly important to New Zealand, especially since the introduction of the FTA. New Zealand’s export trade with China between 2009 and 2012 grew faster than trade with any other major nation in New Zealand’s trading history. In the year to July 2012, the value of New Zealand's exports to China grew more than 10 percent (from $5.6 billion to $6.2 billion) and the value of imports from China grew about nine percent (from $6.7 to $7.3 billion) with China now accounting for over 12 percent of our exports and 16 percent of our imports.