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NZCTA Commentary: Taming the Dragon not slaying it!

China General Interest

The Awards have been presented, the winners have celebrated and the dust at SkyCity is presumably settling.

Our heartiest congratulations to Teknatool International, who took out the Cathay Pacific NZCTA Supreme Award, hearty congratulations to the other winners, Absolute Foods, Zespri and BioVittoria, congratulations to the 12 finalists and commendation to all of the applicants, as, in our view, there were no losers – they all tamed the dragon and consequently successfully do business with China.

Chairman, Stuart Ferguson, remarked on the professionalism of the applicants, their recognition that entering China requires commitment and courage and that they were prepared to make a few mistakes along the way and not give up.That was a common theme amongst the applications.

Another common theme was the spectre of the FTA as businesses planned their China strategy. Some of them recognised at a very early stage of the negotiations, that this would well and truly put the China market in the spotlight. So their strategies comprehended the likely outcomes and benefits.

We were very pleased therefore to welcome the Labour Spokesperson on Trade, Hon. Maryan Street to the dinner in addition to our Guest of Honour, Hon Tim Groser, Minister of Trade. The Minister acknowledged the vision and tenacity of the previous Government in driving through the negotiations (incidentally, in the face of some opposition from its partners of the time).

For all of us, by implication as members, wholehearted supporters of international trade, and bilateral or regional trade agreements, it is greatly heartening to have both major parties moreorless united in their approach and policies. It means we can remain apolitical but support the general Government direction.

Another common theme was the challenge of picking the right partners and determining the most appropriate structure for those who were actually operating in China. Here, mistakes often did appear to be made along the way. But the successful ones, identified what was going wrong and applied the right correction.

This was such a huge factor in the successes that NZCTA will certainly feature distribution channels, networks (guanxi) and structural options in future members’ meetings.

Finally, I’d like to quote (unedited) an email, supreme award winner, Teknatool received from one of their colleagues in Qingdao:

"The Awards news is so exicting! Last night we were invited by embassy to attend the New Zealand business Seminor in Qingdao Shangerela Hotel . Alan Yang, who is inviting us from New Zealand Embassy, has given us a very great congretulations. Nigel, Ping and me are so excited? Some other New Zealand companies heard we are from Teknatool, they are so pleased to congretulate us. We feel we are so SPECIAL!! We are so proud of it! I've also sent the invititation to Alan Yang to coming to QT, he promised me he must be coming someday. Regards,Ubo"

Doesn’t that make it all worthwhile!

David Catty

Executive Director