The Network has a vision to play a constructive role in working toward doubling the current level of merchandise exports and the trade surplus with Pacific Island countries within 5 years.
This is a very bold statement. It is linked to the aim of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda which aim to increase exports as a percentage of GDP from the current 30% to 40%.
The challenge is highlighted by figures we have obtained which show:-
Year 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
NZ GDP $USbn 133.1 118.8 142.0 161.8 169.7 182.9 (est)
Goods & Services
Exports (% GDP) 30.9 28.7 29.4 30.6 28.9 20.9 (est)
This clearly shows that exports as a percentage of GDP have remained static over the last 5 years.
PEN acknowledges that to achieve its vision a huge effort is needed by all exporters and the Government, ideally as partners.
We note a recent report in the Dominion Post of 7 November quoting NZTE strategic adviser Dieter Adam speaking at the Foods for Now and the Future forum at Lincoln University.
Adam has identified an $8 billion gap for food and beverage exports by 2025. The Government’s goal is to double primary exports to $64billion by 2025. Projections are for a $55 billion food and beverage total by 2025 leaving an $8billion gap.
Adam further states “We already need another $1.3 billion in 2016 (on model projections) and that’s a lot of additional exports”.
PEN agrees that there is a major challenge to achieve what the Government is trying. To date there is little evidence of support for the activities of groups like PEN which is firmly trying to get behind the Government’s ambitious target.
An examination of opportunities that could be developed in the Pacific leaves us in little doubt that with support the kind of shortfall mentioned by Dieter Adam could be covered by giving support (or even acknowledging) groups like PEN.
We will seek to engage with Ministers and officials on this in 2014.