Economy, Foreign Trade
mechanical machinery, bilateral trade agreement, World prices, lamb meat, electrical machinery
New Zealand has always been a trading nation and is dependent on exports to buy imports of oil and a wide range of manufactured and consumer goods. The country typically spends more on imports than it earns from exports. In 2000 the value of exports totaled $13.3 billion, and the cost of imports totaled $13.9 billion. World prices for New Zealandís primary products have not kept up with prices of goods that New Zealand imports. The country has sought to diversify its product offerings and trading partners since the early 1970s in response to changing world demand and prices. The United Kingdom was long the largest export market, but its demand for New Zealandís primary products, especially lamb meat and butter, declined after it became a member of the European Community (now European Union) in 1973. Australia then became New Zealandís chief trading partner, and in 1982 the two countries secured close trade and business ties in a bilateral trade agreement, the Closer Economic Relations (CER) agreement. Among other provisions, the agreement phased out tariffs for goods traded between the two countries.
The major export destinations are Australia, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. The key export groups by order of importance are dairy products, meat, timber, and fish. The main sources of imports are Australia, the United States, Japan, China, and Germany. The most important imports are mechanical machinery, vehicles, electrical machinery, and mineral fuels. Imports of unprocessed products, notably metals and unrefined petroleum, are also significant.
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