Monday, June 24, 2013

NZ-China: Is integration becoming dependence?

Interesting piece on the Lowy Institute blog by Katherine Ellena,  NZ-China: Is integration becoming dependence?. One stat stood out. China has replaced Australia as New Zealand's biggest trading partner.

So what's so strange with that? Just think about it for a moment. The Australian and New Zealand economies have a high degree of economic integration. In these circumstances, it's normal for trade to reflect that. So a shift like that that is quite significant.

Putting this in Australian domestic terms, while I haven't looked at the WA stats, I suspect that China is now more important in economic terms to WA than is the rest of Australia. That, too, is a pretty big change.

Back in the 1980s Aymever, my then consulting group, forecast that the different parts of Australia would become economically and even politically integrated in very different ways with other parts of the world. Our interest at the time was what that might mean for Australian economic and political activity.

The change has been slower to happen than we projected. Still, the issue remains. What does it mean to a country when the economic interests of various parts of the country diverge to the point that external influences are far more important than the connections to the rest?

This isn't actually new. What is new is the scale. Just a thought.


Today the Lowy Institute release its annual survey of Australian popular opinion. There is some quite interesting material. You will the press release here the full survey results here.  


Anonymous said...

Jim, that's merchandise trade - not all trade. Can't find the relevant stats but I'm guessing we'd have a far more significant amount in services to NZ than China, given our familiarity with the NZ 'ex-cent', and Bondi being fairly close to the CBD, and several hundred other factors.

But I digress; for a NZ analyist to suggest merchandise trade begets dependency is maybe an eye-catching title; but really I think a little superficial.

Anyway, it's been raining here, so all I've really accomplished (apart from reading your post and link) is several vegetarian pizzas on pita bread - whipped up in moments, probably cost less than two dollars a hit - plus electricity of course.

I am developing my own sort of dependency; to quick, easy food - with no cover charge, gst, or service add-on. And if I move to paper plates, no washing up.

Merchandise I can eat: now that's independence!


Jim Belshaw said...

Correction noted.I found the balance of services stats for the year ended 30 June 2012. In that year, NZ service exports to Australia were $NZ4.5 billion, followed by the US $1.8 billion and then PRC $1.025. Interestingly, NZ had a big services deficit with Australia, but a $300 million plus surplus with China.I haven't analysed the stats in depth, but I wouldn't be surprised if the gap narrows quite quickly.

Jim Belshaw said...

Also noted your eating habits!