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New Zealand stresses opportunities as Indonesia enters regional FTA

01-05-2012 14:17 BJT

WELLINGTON, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- Indonesia's entry to the ASEAN- Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) this month will be a "game-changer" for New Zealand's business, education and tourism sectors, a senior New Zealand trade official said Thursday.

Indonesia, which officially accedes to the AANZFTA on Jan. 10, "isn't on the radar" of many New Zealand exporters, and "New Zealand isn't on Indonesia's radar either," according to Fiona Acheson, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Commissioner for Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.

But things would change on both sides after Indonesia completed the domestic procedures to enter the AANZFTA in November, Acheson wrote in an article for the New Zealand Herald, the country's largest newspaper, Thursday.

"Garuda, Indonesia's national airline, has its sights set on flying direct to New Zealand which will be a game-changer for education, tourism and business exchanges between the two countries. Indonesia is already among the fastest-growing sources of tourists to New Zealand," said Acheson.

The FTA would also help to strengthen New Zealand's agricultural relationship with Indonesia, she said.

"A prime aim will be to build on our position as a recognized agriculture and food security partner for Indonesia which has one of the fastest growing food and beverage industries in Southeast Asia, thanks to its strong economic growth and increasing urbanization," she wrote.

"There is demand for New Zealand food and beverage products and opportunities exist with value-added products such as convenience foods as relative incomes increase and the distribution and manufacturing of products becomes more sophisticated."

New Zealand companies were participating in engineering and construction, as well as the aviation and airport sector, and Indonesia's aim to become the world's largest geothermal energy producer in the next few years would also provide opportunities.

"New Zealand enjoys a big reputation in Indonesia (in fact New Zealand is considered the Mecca for geothermal expertise) and there will be substantial investment in geothermal power generation over the next few years," she wrote.

"While businesses and investors have been focused on China and India in recent decades, Indonesia's strategic location provides unique access to China, India, Southeast Asia and Australia.

"Like China and India, Indonesia is described as a different, difficult and complex place to do business, but it's a market where many businesses are succeeding and happy with the profits they're making."

The AANZFTA would allow duty-free and tariff-free access by 2015 for more than 90 percent of New Zealand goods and services to a market that had a gross domestic product growth rate of more than 6 percent and was already New Zealand's ninth biggest export destination, she said.

The AANZFTA is already in force for Australia, New Zealand and the other nine ASEAN member countries.

Indonesia, with the world's fourth largest population, accounts for more than a third of ASEAN's GDP.

ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


Editor:Bai Yang |Source: Xinhua

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