Prime Minister John Key has dismissed talk of a "trade war" with China, saying that the country has given no sign that it has concerns with New Zealand, let alone threatened to retaliate against Kiwi exporters.

He made the comments following reports that China could take retaliatory action against New Zealand's kiwifruit and dairy sectors if New Zealand officials launched a formal investigation into alleged steel dumping by China.

Speaking to reporters in Jakarta last night, Mr Key said he could not confirm whether such an investigation was being considered.

"On the wider issue, if there was a complaint and even if it was investigated, whether a country like China would take retaliatory action against New Zealand, I don't believe that's the case that they would.


"We have no indications that they have concerns with us. They haven't raised any of those issues with us."

China had many avenues to resolve any trade problems, he said, and retaliation was very
unlikely to be one of them.

"So people can have their own version or view or idea of what might happen but our exports are flowing across the border to China, I regularly see the Chinese leadership, the Chinese ambassador has my phone number if he wants to pick it up and make a phone call.

"None of those things has happened."

MBIE is understood to have received two complaints from New Zealand steel producers about Chinese steel flooding the New Zealand market.

Fairfax reported yesterday that Chinese officials had "heavied" Fonterra and Zespri to exert influence to prevent any formal MBIE investigation from occurring.