Over the years, New Zealand has tended to import more than it exports, but the trade imbalance is relatively small.
The major destinations of New Zealand's exports, in order of importance, are Australia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany, and China. The products exported to each of these countries varies considerably. For example, there is a great contrast between Australia and United States. Since Australia produces many of the same agricultural products as New Zealand, the most important exports are manufactures such as machinery, textiles, and paper products, as well as wood and mineral fuels. Exports to the United States, however, are more agricultural: meat, dairy products, fish, fruit, and nuts, followed by specialized manufactures. There is a mixture of agricultural and manufactured products flowing to Japan, while to the United Kingdom the pattern is similar to the United States.
The sources of New Zealand's imports are similar to the export destinations: Australia, United States, Japan, China, Germany, and United Kingdom. From Australia, New Zealand imports products in many of the same categories as it exports, mainly fuels and manufactures. From the United States the most important imports are machinery, aircraft, plastics, and vehicles. More than half of the imports from Japan are of vehicles, with various types of machinery making most of the rest. Through the 1990s, as trade tariffs have been reduced, New Zealand's trade within Asian countries, especially China, has increased and is likely to increase further.
|Trade (expressed in billions of US$): New Zealand|
|SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.|
|Exchange rates: New Zealand|
|New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1|
|SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].|