The China Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand held their Annual General Meeting at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland with 170 members and guests attending the lunch. The business session reviewed activities of the past year; such as the High Tech Summit with Bank of China (NZ) Ltd. this year and upcoming projects, notably China Travel Service (NZ) Ltd.’s cooperation with NZ Māori Tourism promoting China NZ Year of Tourism 2019. David Wang was re-elected as Chairman for another three-year term, along with the new Executive Board. He welcomed corporate guests to the lunch session embracing formal Māori greetings that was warmly received by the audience with a round of applause. He spoke in general about the brisk pace of bilateral trade surpassing targets sooner than expected.
China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner for goods and services earning more from our exports to China than imports from China; with new opportunities for exporters at the inaugural China International Import Fair in November expected to attract 150,000 buyers. He praised the 120 members for their commitment to the New Zealand economy with approximately $5.3 billion invested, based on an internal survey. He expressed his gratitude during his first term for the members’ generosity raising over $200,000 for Starship, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and this year’s recipient, two reconditioned First Response Vehicles for St. John Northern Region. There will be a dedication ceremony at St. John next month when the FRV vehicles will be ready for service. As a banker, he expressed some concern about possible changes to the global economy, making free trade and multilateral engagement more important.
The Chinese Ambassador HE Wu Xi commended the CCCNZ caring for the public welfare and giving something back to society. She emphasised the fact that China places great importance in New Zealand as the country of the longest of the firsts, including upgrading the FTA and a Memo of Arrangement for the Belt Road Initiative. New Zealand’s two-way trade with China increased more than three-fold in the past decade since the FTA to $26.1 billion in 2017. China cannot achieve development in isolation with a goal that is expected to contribute to global prosperity and shared future of all mankind. The people to people exchanges exceeded 400,000 Chinese visitors and there are now 80 direct flights to China during peak season. The conclusion was quite meaningful to the audience saying, “economic cooperation is the bedrock and propeller of China – New Zealand relations”.
Hon. Shane Jones acknowledged Advisory Board members as hard working Kiwis, Sir Henry van der Heyden and also Raymond Huo MP, when they both worked with Rt. Hon. Helen Clark. He opened by saying, “I want to share a thought, obviously this Chamber is a fertile ground for strengthening relations. We are strongly against protectionism. We don’t have the power of China but we are in a common pursuit.” He is planning to visit China next month at the Prime Minister’s request with the main purpose being to attract investment for infrastructure and forestry so it was appropriate to accept the invitation to speak, making time to show the importance of our relationship. Members took special notice when he elaborated on his role establishing a new agency that will attract investors, banks and suppliers as a point of contact for long term contracts, 15-20 years. He concluded with the fact he is a career politician working in a three-year political cycle. He went to China in 1992 to set up a fisheries factory in Guangdong exporting to the USA with a Maori-Chinese partner. He believes the relationship is not only about business but people to people contact, the power of people with a mutual admiration to provide an example for future generations.
ATEED supports Auckland City Mission suggesting it as a possible 2019 donor recipient of the Chamber’s benevolence with Chris Farrelly, Missioner introducing the Mission HomeGround Project. Additional donations are needed for the $90 million project because it’s all a go now with $72 million pledged to open by 2020 when Auckland will no longer have homeless on the streets. Members will vote at the next meeting to decide on the financial recipient of the annual CCCNZ Chinese New Year Charity in February 2019.