China candid about trade war potential

Wednesday 26 Sep 2018

NZ Forestry delegation finds China 'candid' about risk of growing trade war - Chinese officials have been candid in public meetings about the risk of a protracted trade war, Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.

Jones led a delegation of forestry industry figures to the eighth Global Wood Trade Conference in Chongqing.

While it was his first trip to China since the new Government was formed, Jones has visited China before on a number of occasions and was surprised by how up front the officials were about tensions with the United States.

"The officials have been tremendously candid in very public situations. They have clearly identified that as far as they're concerned, they're in a protracted trade war," Jones said from China.

"I've been to China a lot, but I was blown away by that candour in respect to an international audience. They were glad to hear us say that New Zealand abides and is very faithful to the rules of international trade, and it's served us well. That message resonates with them."

Officials in China were "certainly pleased to see a minister", Jones said.

"How it works up here is, when a minister turns up, they send out a minister. I know it affirms the mahi [work] of our local officials up here. The New Zealand industry themselves have consistently said to me, you need to front up, matua Shane."

Jones said that officials in China were pleased to gain clarity on changes to the treatment of overseas investments in forestry rights by bringing them within the ambit of the Overseas Investment Act.

While the changes aim to encourage overseas investment in forestry, Jones said that message had not been made clear on the ground.

"There was a lot of ambiguity in their minds about what our position actually is," Jones said.

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Source: Stuff news

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