China, Russia and Mexico eye closer trade ties with New Zealand

The past 12 months can be described as a year of shocks – the US presedential election, Brexit, the refugee crisis in Syria, and the increased prevalence of terrorism have created new challenges for international trade and investment. The year ahead looks set to be no different.

There is a sense of caution around the world, however history indicates that New Zealand is well placed to weather global uncertainties.

Shortly after the dramatic outcome of the US presidential election, which saw Donald Trump enter the White House, John Key announced he would be stepping down as Prime Minister of New Zealand. Key cited family reasons for leaving, saying the job had required great sacrifices “from those who are dearest to me”. Following a short selection process, Finance Minister Bill English was appointed to lead New Zealand as Key’s successor.

English has called for a general election to take place on 23 September. We will cover the election issues in greater detail in a future edition of The New Zealand Connection, but for now, some of the hot topics in the lead up to the election are:

  • What a Labour or National Party coalition will look like? National has had three successful terms working alongside the Maori Party, ACT and United Future, while Labour have historically partnered with the Green Party;
  • Housing affordability in New Zealand’s major cities;
  • Immigration – an economic boon, but not without it’s cultural, social and economic challenges; and
  • The global shift in political ideology towards populist movements and anti-globislist rthetoric.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts have already hosted two major international events this year, the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) and World Services Group (WSG) Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting. The WSG and IPBA conferences were a tremendous success, featuring exceptional guest speakers and valuable networking opportunities for member firms.

We all know that opportunities present themselves during times of change. Wherever you are in the world, if you would like to talk to one of our experts about New Zealand opportunities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Below you’ll find a selection of relevant headlines, highlighting why New Zealand continues to be an ideal destination for international trade and investment.

Headlines in New Zealand

John Key resigns as Prime Minister of New Zealand, cites family reasons for leavingJohn Key has resigned as Prime Minister of New Zealand. Key cited family reasons for leaving, saying the job had required great sacrifices “from those who are dearest to me”. Key said he endorsed Bill English as his replacement.

New Zealand–China FTA upgrade agreed among slew of new deals New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English and China Premier Li Keqiang signed off a series of cooperation deals spanning trade, customs, travel and climate change and confirmed commencement of official talks on an upgrade to the nine year old free-trade agreement between the two countries.

2017 Litigation Forecast This publication covers some of the key challenges businesses in New Zealand are likely to face in 2017, including greater regulatory scrutiny; escalating frequency, scale and sophistication of cyber-attacks; and continuing growth of class actions fuelled by more accessible sources of funding.

Merger & Acquisition | Trends and predictions Covering OIO consents, merger clearances, roll-up activity, private equity, warranty insurance, bank funding for transactions and tax, we look at the key trends from New Zealand’s M&A market in 2016 and make predictions for the year ahead.

Auckland City Rail Link Set to revolutionise Auckland’s public transport system, the City Rail Link is an underground rail line linking Britomart and the city centre with the existing western line near Mt Eden. It is the country’s largest infrastructure project co-funded by the New Zealand Government.

Russia willing to start free-trade talks Prime Minister Bill English has released New Zealand's refreshed trade strategy, which seeks to have 90 per cent of goods exports covered by a free trade agreement within 13 years, and cited potentially concluding free trade talks with Russia and its customs union partners among initiatives to meet that target.

Mexico pushes for trade deal with New Zealand Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto wants to forge bilateral deals with New Zealand and other signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Investment news

New Zealand company profits continue to bolster tax take, 8-month surplus bigger-than-expected

New Zealand firms' profits continue to swell the government's coffers, helping to boost the government's operating surplus beyond forecasts for the first months of the financial year.

Ten foreign investors forced to dispose of New Zealand land in last 10 years

Ten foreign investors have been forced to surrender sensitive land in New Zealand in the last decade after failing to meet the conditions of their purchase. Talk to our OIO expert Silvana Schenone if you’re looking for advice.

Chinese banks making inroads into New Zealand market

Chinese banks have benefited from growth in the New Zealand market with trade tripling to $23 billion since the FTA.

Chinese telco giant to invest $400m in New Zealand

Chinese telecommunications group Huawei Technologies will spend $400 million in New Zealand over the next five years to help drive local research and development and support the construction of a cloud data centre.

New Zealand shares hit six-month high

This month, New Zealand shares rose to their highest level since October 2016.

New Zealand services sector sees growth

Activity in New Zealand's services sector, which accounts for about two-thirds of the economy, rose last month to a near-record, with ongoing strength in wholesale, retail and hospitality.

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