Flagstaff Alpacas owner Andy Nailard, of Dunedin, was one
of the speakers at the Central Otago District Council's
second export forum for people interested in sending
product to China. Photo by Yvonne O'Hara
If you grab the dragon by the tail, make sure you have a
plan for the teeth, says New Zealand China Council executive
director Pat English. He was speaking at the Central Otago
District Council's second export forum in Alexandra last week.
It focused on exporting to China and speakers included
Flagstaff Alpacas owner Andy Nailard, of Dunedin, and SBS
regional manager Patricia Muir, who also had a business
exporting fresh fruit and vegetables to China.
The CODC's economic development manager Warwick Hawker said
China was New Zealand's second largest trading partner, ''and
we haven't seen nothing yet''.
''We are starting to see massive growth,'' he said.
Mr English said he spent 12 of the past 16 years in China and
also worked on the New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
China was the second largest source of tourists and foreign
students for New Zealand.
''The key for China is it can't feed itself and it has 6% of
the world's arable land,'' he said.
''There is a growing middle class that is adding 10 million
to its number a year.
''They need protein and need to secure access to protein.''
He said it was important to have the strongest possible
relationship between New Zealand and China and to ensure that
relationship achieved its potential.
''However, there were issues that potential exporters needed
to consider when looking for markets. Business there was
over-regulated and complicated.
There was a ''discriminatory enforcement of regulations''.
''It is an increasingly sophisticated, complex market and not
a cheap place to do business,'' he said.
One of the disparities between China and New Zealand he said
was that New Zealand had a high level of trust [when doing
business] and a low level of regulation compared with China,
while the reverse was true for China - a low level of trust
and a high level of regulation.
He advised potential exporters to have representatives on the
ground, as well as extensive supporting documents for
''If you fill out a document wrong it is like shooting
yourself in the temple.
''You have to get it right because if you have not got it
right, it will hurt.
''It is an expensive place to do business with transport,
accommodation, licensing costs and they are increasing all
Mr Nailard, who had up to 300 alpacas near Dunedin, said they
had received an approach by China to export alpaca
fibre-filled duvets there as they liked the authentic product
and the complete New Zealand package.
''About 20% of of our sales are overseas,'' Mr Nailard said.
However, he identified the lack of scalability of alpaca
product as there were only about 25,000 alpacas in New
Zealand and therefore a limited supply of fleece as a key
They realised it was important to establish relationships and
an online presence was also important.
They visited China to explore the market and held meetings
with potential buyers.
As well as ensuring they were punctual and brushed up on
their small talk skills, they realised meetings were going to
take far longer than expected.
''We were complete amateurs at negotiations.
''The biggest mistake was when we said we were going to see
the competitors later that day and [by saying that] we lost
In addition to the CODC, the Regional Business Partners
Central Otago assessor Tara Druce and SBS Bank also hosted
- by Yvonne O'Hara