Economy, Business And Markets

New Zealand’s 1st Trade Mission to Iran in 12 Yrs.

New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay is leading the trade mission to Tehran.New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay is leading the trade mission to Tehran.
Iran has traditionally been a very important market for New Zealand’s sheep meat and butter, however exports have diminished over a number of years

New Zealand’s Trade Minister Todd McClay led the country’s first trade mission to Tehran in 12 years on Friday to revive exports after the lifting of nuclear sanctions against Iran.

“There is enormous opportunity for Iran and New Zealand to work together to boost two-way trade,” McClay said in a statement from his office, Xinhua reported.

Iran and New Zealand had a longstanding trade relationship dating back to 1975 when New Zealand established an embassy in Tehran, its first in the Middle East. 

According to New Zealand Herald, Iran was New Zealand’s fifth largest export market in the 1980s but the nuclear sanctions saw trade shrink.

Iran exported $2.6 million worth of goods to New Zealand in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16), registering a 14% rise compared with the year before while imports stood at $49 million, up 50%, the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration reported.

IRICA’s latest statistics on bilateral trade show Iran exported 1,575 tons of non-oil goods worth $1.5 million to New Zealand during the seven months to October 21, which indicates a 18% increase year-on-year with the main exports being petrochemicals, dates, carpet, pistachio and fruit juice. 

Imports stood at 17,000 tons of goods worth %67 million during the period to register a twofold rise. Butter, wool, milk powder, fish, industrial parts, auto parts and machinery were the main imported commodities.

“Iran has traditionally been a very important market for our sheep meat and butter, however exports have diminished over a number of years,” said McClay, who is leading a delegation of 18 New Zealand businesses.

“Since the lifting of UN sanctions, there are now renewed opportunities to reestablish this trade as well as new opportunities in the education, construction, food and beverage, energy, forestry, specialized manufacturing and services sectors.”

New Zealand officially lifted its United Nations sanctions against Iran in February. In March, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited New Zealand as part of an Asia-Pacific tour to encourage international businesses to invest and do business in Iran again.

At the time, Zarif had said the traditional exports such as dairy and meat were important but Iran was also interested in technology from New Zealand.

McClay said Zarif had said Iran presented a $1 billion opportunity for New Zealand.

“This mission will be an important first step towards delivering on this exciting opportunity,” said McClay.

Labor’s trade spokesman, David Clark, is also accompanying the mission. McClay said he invited Clark “in the interests of promoting a bipartisan approach to trade, which is critical to New Zealand’s prosperity.”

It follows the break in a longstanding bipartisanship on trade when Labor decided to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The 18 companies joining McClay on this visit to Iran are: NIG Nutritionals, Tait Communications, Enatel Limited, Sealord, Silver Fern Farms, Westland Milk Products, Fonterra, FrameCAD, Flight Coffee, Switchfloat, University of Canterbury, University of Auckland, ANZCO, Auckland University of Technology, Pacific Helmets, Pelco NZ, NZ Bankers Association and Pultron Composites.

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