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European cars drive New Zealand imports

Staff Writer |
Kiwis’ taste for European cars and holidays made the European Union (EU) New Zealand's top imports provider for the December 2016 year, Statistics New Zealand said.

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“Europeans are big buyers of New Zealand meat and more of them are travelling to New Zealand,” said international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon. “However, the trade balance overall is in the EU’s favour due to New Zealand's imports from there.”

New Zealand imported $11.7 billion worth of goods and services from the EU in the 2016, which accounted for one-sixth of New Zealand's total imports.

New Zealand exported $8.3 billion of goods and services to the EU, giving us a $3.4 billion trade deficit with the EU in 2016.

Although we had a trade deficit with the EU, we had trade surpluses with 16 of New Zealand's top 25 trading partners in 2016, including Australia, China, the US, and Japan.

“We spent more on importing cars from the EU than they spent on importing meat from New Zealand,” Kwon said.

“In addition, EU visitors spent more in New Zealand than we spent when visiting the EU. This gave us New Zealand's trade deficit with the EU, although we have a trade surplus with the world as a whole.”

Overall, New Zealand’s trade with the rest of the world was a $3.7 billion surplus for the December 2016 year. Total exports of goods and services were $70.1 billion, while total imports were $66.4 billion.

Our largest goods import from the EU was cars and parts in 2016. The EU provided nearly 45,000 cars to us in 2016, including 27,000 from Germany.

Cars and parts from the EU were New Zealand's third-largest goods import overall, after cars and parts from Japan, and electrical machinery and equipment from China.

Our largest services import from the EU was transportation services (eg sea transport).

Spending by Kiwis travelling to the EU (imports of travel services) was New Zealand's second-largest services import from the EU.

Most of the 206,200 Kiwis who travelled to the EU in 2016 were tourists, not business or education-related travellers.

Spending by EU visitors to New Zealand (exports of travel services) was New Zealand's main services export to the EU. Lower-cost flights from Europe has increased the number of EU visitors (up 12.2 percent from 2015).

Agricultural products were New Zealand's main goods exports to the EU in the year ended December 2016. By value, the largest exports were meat (mostly lamb), fruit (particularly kiwifruit), and wine.

New Zealand exported 87.6 million litres of wine in 2016 (mostly to the United Kingdom). In comparison, we imported only 5.3 million litres of wine, including 3.0 million litres from France.

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