To mark the 40th anniversary of New Zealand's relationship with the ASEAN community and the implementation of regional economic integration, its government and private sector have set their sights on building a deeper engagement with partners in the region including Thailand.
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said yesterday that he foresaw huge opportunities in ASEAN countries because of their fast-growing economies. Since the establishment of relations with ASEAN 40 years ago, the region has become a major market, particularly for high-quality food, tourism and education.
Key said tourism and knowledge transfer were among the highlighted sectors. New Zealand hopes to attract more tourists, particularly after Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand began their alliance in January. That improves connectivity between ASEAN countries and New Zealand.
Through this partnership, Singapore will be the aviation hub for Southeast Asian travellers coming to New Zealand. With this alliance, both airlines aim to increase their capacity between New Zealand and Singapore by up to 30 per cent year-around over time, according to Singapore Airlines.
Key also said his government foresaw tremendous opportunities for New Zealand's know-how to reach out to Southeast Asia countries. Manufacturers in the ASEAN region are relying more on research and development, and knowledge transfer will help them produce high-value products.
Of overall exports of New Zealand, ASEAN markets account for more than 10 per cent. Last year, two-way trade was 12.8 billion New Zealand dollars (S$12.5 b). Thailand ranked No 3 among the 10 ASEAN countries with trade value of Bt60.37 billion (S$2.41 b), after Malaysia and Singapore.