View interactive

Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Groser on trade mission to China

Trade Minister Tim Groser. Photo / Greg Bowker
Trade Minister Tim Groser. Photo / Greg Bowker

Trade Minister Tim Groser leaves New Zealand today on a trade mission to China - one of 28 trade missions planned to China this term - but part of his trip is under review because of an emerging political crisis.

Mr Groser is due to visit Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing city in southwest China, a city of 30 million.

But the visit to Chongqing is under review with the resignation of the city's Communist Party secretary, Bo Xilai, a powerful political player in China and a member of the politburo.

Mr Groser had been due to meet Mr Bo, who has also visited New Zealand as a former Commerce Minister in 2006, a spokeswoman confirmed.

She said that part of the visit was under review.

With the once-in-a-decade of power changes due to occur in China, Mr Bo was a contender for a more influential position.

The Times says was in favour of a more statist approach than progressing with the economic liberalisation of recent years - and the Guardian reported that Premier Wen Jibao indirectly criticised Mr Bo during a press conference this week.

The ostensibly reason given for his resignation is that Mr Bo's police chief, Wang Lijun, sought refuge at a United States consulate after he had been fired.

Mr Groser indicated in a speech in North Shore city on Thursday that New Zealand would be stepping up its trade missions with China, with 28 planned this term compared to 10 last term.

His current trip will include 17 export companies.

The Chinese Embassy in Wellington held a media briefing yesterday to reinforce some of the messages given by Mr Wen this week at his annual press conference.

Those messages included the belief that democarcy will develop in a step by step manner according to the national circumstances and the trend is unstoppable by any force."

Embassy political counsellor Cheng Lei conducted the briefing and said New Zealand investment in China was welcome, be it small, medium or large.

Asked about the court decision that has forced the successful bid by Shanghai Pengxin for 16 Crafar farms to be re-considered, Mr Cheng said he was sure it would be resolved in accordance with New Zealand law.

He said while he had taken a close interest in the case, it was purely commercial and neither the embassy or Government had talked to officials about the bid.

The Overseas Investment Office has said it met with him to explain the New Zealand law but not discuss the bid.

Asked if what the consequences for Chinese investment would be if the Pengxin bid was finally turned down he said: "I cannot speak for Chinese enterprises but but from my own viewpoint, maybe they would have a second consideration after your hypothetical projection, as to whether or not China's big or small or medium enterprises will invest in your country in the future."

And any rethink might not be limited to China.

"Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, any member of the European community, I think they would take a very cautious stand as for the future investment of your country, but that's my own viewpoint.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 21 Sep 2014 04:59:29 Processing Time: 285ms