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Trump's tough talk on China may help NZ

NZN 2/03/2017 Paul McBeth

US President Donald Trump's blunt and confrontational rhetoric about Chinese trade policies hasn't won much support among consumers in the world's most populous nation and could give some Kiwi exporters a leg up over their American rivals.

A survey of 2000 Chinese consumers by China Skinny and Findoout last month found 41 per cent held a more negative view on the US, while 51 per cent were neutral and just 8.1 per cent were more positive.

The survey sought views on a variety of US products and services, with the most negative in areas where New Zealand exporters are jostling for attention in the world's second-biggest economy.

Chinese consumers were most downbeat on making US investments, followed by negativity towards US travel and study.

"America's loss is NZ's gain if we execute well," said Mark Tanner, an expat Kiwi who heads up Shanghai-based marketing consultancy China Skinny.

"Chinese want to travel more than ever, but with America not looking overly welcoming, Europe looking unsafe, NZ (and Australia) are well-positioned for tourists and students."

China is an important part of New Zealand's strategy to attract both international students, who pay full price on school fees, and for tourism, with the Asian nation providing the country's second-biggest pool of short-term visitors.

Mr Tanner said those students and tourists provided wider marketing benefits through word-of-mouth.

The survey also found Chinese consumers were more negative on food and beverage, and mother and baby products from the US.

New Zealand counts China as its biggest trading partner - exporting $12.1 million worth of goods and services in the June 2016 year.

The US exported $US113 billion ($NZ160b) of goods and services to China in 2015, making it the nation's third-largest market behind Canada and Mexico.

However, since Mr Trump has taken over the White House he has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on China.

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