Fast Facts

From millions to billions – 50 years of trade with ASEAN

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ASEAN, established in August 1967, had Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand as original members. Countries that joined later were Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Viet Nam.

“Fifty years ago, we exported nearly $16 million worth of goods to the five original ASEAN countries,” international statistics senior manager Daria Kwon said. “That’s around $160 million in today’s value.”

New Zealand imported $11 million worth of goods from the five countries in 1967 (approximately $94 million in current dollars). Two-way trade with ASEAN was $27 million (just over $251 million in current dollars), which included a surplus of $5 million (around $63 million in current dollars). In 1967, services were not included in Stats NZ’s exports and imports data.

Dairy products, petroleum, and cars the main goods traded

New Zealand exported $5.0 billion worth of goods to ASEAN countries in the June 2017 year, and imported a total of $7.1 billion worth of goods.

Dairy products (including milk powder and cheese) were the main goods exported to ASEAN, followed by meat, logs, fruit, and wood pulp and waste paper. A total of $2.4 billion of dairy products were sent to ASEAN in the June 2017 year, with $524 million to Malaysia alone. Malaysia received most of New Zealand’s dairy products in 2017, followed by the Philippines ($474 million) and Indonesia ($400 million).

Petroleum and related products was New Zealand’s largest goods import from ASEAN in the June 2017 year. Petroleum imports from ASEAN decreased in recent years as other sources were used, such as the United Arab Emirates. New Zealand imported $1.4 billion worth of petroleum from ASEAN in the June 2017 year, half of what was imported in the June 2013 year. Most these petroleum imports came from Singapore ($982 million).

Since 2013, the value of vehicles and parts imported from ASEAN has doubled to reach $1.3 billion in the June 2017 year. The majority of these vehicles are from Thailand, where cars and trucks are made under licence for Japanese, American, and other international car makers.

In 1967, New Zealand’s main goods exports to ASEAN were dairy products, followed by frozen meat, tallow, then wood pulp and waste paper.

“Although the goods we exported to ASEAN in 2017 were similar to those in 1967, the value and volume of this trade has increased,” Ms Kwon said. “Our main imports from these countries in 1967 were crude and synthetic rubber, kerosene, and petroleum.”

Travel and transportation the main services traded

New Zealand imported $1.8 billion worth of services from ASEAN in the June 2017 year, and exported a total $1.4 billion worth of services in return.

Travel was the largest services export to ASEAN ($1.0 billion total), with personal travel to New Zealand contributing $613 million to the economy. By country, Malaysia and Singapore had the highest number of total visitors to New Zealand.

Transportation was our largest services import from ASEAN in the June 2017 ($669 million), with Singapore accounting for most of this. Imports of transportation services also includes New Zealanders travelling to and from Singapore on non-resident airlines.

There were 1,301 flights that arrived in New Zealand from Singapore in June 2017, and 1,286 flights that departed from New Zealand to Singapore over the same period. Over 23,000 New Zealand-resident travellers listed Singapore as their main destination in the June 2017 year, mostly for holidays or to visit friends and relatives.

Source: Stats NZ

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