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International Relation

Interview: New Zealand accelerates pace to involve with Belt and Road Initiative, says expert

April 19, 2019


Abstract : New Zealand is accelerating the pace to involve with China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which provides an win-win opportunity to build some momentum into the relationship between New Zealand and China, said a New Zealand expert in a recent interview with Xinhua.

WELLINGTON, April 19 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand is accelerating the pace to involve with China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which provides an win-win opportunity to build some momentum into the relationship between New Zealand and China, said a New Zealand expert in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Stephen Jacobi, executive director of the New Zealand China Council, who will attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing later this month, made the remarks when commenting on how should New Zealand involve with the Belt and Road.

"Belt and Road (Initiative) provides us with the opportunity to build some momentum into the relationship between New Zealand and China," said Jacobi. "New Zealand is a far off partner of China. It's not easy sometimes to work out how we could participate in Belt and Road."

That's why the News Zealand China Council and its partners last year issued its own report on BRI, which put BRI in context for New Zealand and provided suggestions about how BRI could contribute to enhancing connectivity between China, New Zealand, and potentially also other BRI participants.

Jacobi spent several weeks presenting this report to mostly business audiences around the country, which sets out four areas for future cooperation -- trade facilitation, innovation, creative sector and the idea of New Zealand as a conduit between China and Latin America.

"These are all areas where we can turn the opportunities of Belt and Road into tangible outcome that will benefit both China and New Zealand," said Jacobi.

"We are accelerating the pace with New Zealand's involvement with Belt and Road. The trade minister would be attending the (second) Belt and Road Forum (for International Cooperation) in Beijing, and the New Zealand delegation of business people will accompany him. I will be there for that event also, that's a very good thing to be doing."

"Officials are working on the programe of work to be established under Belt and Road memorandum, that's another really good thing. And business people in New Zealand are also discussing how Belt and Road could be turned into tangible outcomes," he said.

"We need to move forward step by step, but I do think things are speeding up, that's a very good thing," said Jacobi.

After the Belt and Road forum, Jacobi will fly back New Zealand to host a conference on how to build a link between China, New Zealand and South America.

"I have lead discussions and spoken to events all over New Zealand about Belt and Road. One particular thing we are working on is an important conference that would look at how to build that link between China, New Zealand and South America. And we've got a lot of interest in this," said Jacobi.

"Of course today is a very complicated environment for international trade. So New Zealand and China had a chance to model their relationship on the way we would like to see the other relationships work: Clear rules, willingness to examine these win-win outcomes, and some very tangible projects, such as the ones we put in place under Belt and Road," said Jacobi.

To the future of the relationship between China and New Zealand, Jacobi was very optimistic.

"Every time we try to set a target for growing trade between New Zealand and China, the target is met before the time frame. That's because China wants to buy the products that New Zealand has to sell, and New Zealand needs a lot of things that China has to sell, these are complimentary relationship here. So I foresee that the trade and investment and people-to-people flows between China and New Zealand will continue to grow," said Jacobi.

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Keyword: China New-Zealand BRI

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