Exporters confident about the future despite uncertainties

Photo / 123rf
Photo / 123rf

Kiwi exporters are confident about 2017 despite uncertainties caused by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, DHL's Export Barometer revealed today.

The 2016 ExportNZ DHL Export Barometer showed 2016 was a good year, with 52 per cent of exporters achieving an increase in international orders, and 63 per cent expect international orders to increase in 2017.

"This is a positive signal in an increasingly uncertain global market. While the survey was conducted before the US election result was known, the chance of TPP getting across the line was looking weak whichever candidate won," ExportNZ executive director Catherine Beard said.

"Export destinations have remained consistent, although China, ASEAN and Hong Kong have slipped back a bit since last year. Now the top five export destinations are: Australia, North America, Europe, Pacific Islands and the UK."

The biggest problems exporters say they face are the exchange rate of the Kiwi dollar, the strength of competition in overseas markets, and finding partners or agents in new locations.

Online commerce held steady, with results showing there is scope for more exporters to embrace online ordering.

"Online commerce is a massive growth area for Kiwi companies and almost three-quarters of exporters now generate orders in this way," DHL Express NZ country manager Mark Foy said.

"Correspondingly, 40 per cent of exporters say they currently use social media to increase international orders. This is an additional opportunity to market to international consumers looking for innovative and unique goods."

Conversely, 27 per cent of exporters said they generate no online orders and 59 per cent said they haven't used social media.

Twenty per cent of respondents said they used Facebook while a meagre 4 per cent used Twitter.

The survey showed exporters were overwhelmingly indifferent about the so called "Netflix tax". The majority of respondents said the lowered GST threshold for imported goods will have no impact on their business, while 12 per cent expressed concern over the cost for raw materials.

A quarter of respondents showed support for more free trade agreements, and with the trans pacific partnership virtually on ice, a Asia-wide agreement is the next focus for exporters.

"Interestingly, Australia is the only country out of our most popular export destinations that currently has a trade deal with New Zealand, so progress needs to be made on the rest, including the UK as a result of Brexit," said Beard.

"ExportNZ is hopeful that if the TPP can't come to fruition, the wider Asian region can show the way with a high quality free trade agreement "RCEP" (a 16 country, Asia-wide free trade agreement including India and Japan). This would help New Zealand exporters remain competitive in these markets."

- NZ Herald

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