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Our relationship with North Asia

Some of the world's fastest-growing and most powerful industrial economies are in North Asia. Its economic prosperity, political stability, and 1.5 billion+ population represent huge potential for New Zealand. We already have investment, science and technology, tourism and education initiatives underway in the region, and we're continually working on developing stronger connections and more of them.

Formal connections

New Zealand's formal connections with North Asian countries include our work with international organisations such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and regional organisations such as Asia Pacific Cooperation (APEC) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

New Zealand has significant economic and cultural ties with Taiwan. These are managed by the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office (NZCIO) in Taipei which is a subsidiary of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Read more about the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office(external link)


New Zealand and North Asia are natural trading partners. New Zealand exports satisfy North Asian demand for primary produce (for example meat, dairy, logs) and an increasing range of manufactured / technology products;, and North Asian manufactured goods (machinery, vehicles, clothing) meet demand in New Zealand. North Asian countries accounted for 10% percent of foreign direct investment in New Zealand in 2014.

North Asia is an increasingly important source of foreign direct investment (FDI) into New Zealand. FDI from the region doubled from March 2009 to March 2014, reaching $7.5 billion. This is 7.5% of our total FDI stocks as at March 2014.

Read more about international investment on the Statistics New Zealand website(external link).

North Asia is also important for our services sector. Nearly two thirds (61 percent) of international students and over 15% percent of visitors coming to New Zealand are from North Asia. Overall, 20% of New Zealand's services trade is from North Asia.

Japan, China and the Republic of Korea play a key part in the recent shift of world economic influence to Asia. These three countries are increasingly important economic and trading partners to New Zealand. Together with Taiwan and Hong Kong, they accounted for 33 percent of New Zealand's goods exports (NZ$16.4 billion) and 30 percent of imports (NZ$14.5 billion) in the year to December 2014.

Trade agreements and negotiations

New Zealand has signed free trade agreements (FTA) with China, Hong Kong and Korea:

We also have an agreement on Economic Cooperation with the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu(external link).

We're negotiating two more regional free trade agreements that include countries from North Asia,

Our relationship with South Asia

Our relations with South Asian countries are friendly and include a shared Commonwealth heritage, a love of cricket, and trade. Recognising India as one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, the New Zealand Government has a strategy to strengthen our economic, political and security relationships with India. Due to Sir Edmund Hillary's legacy we enjoy a special, continuing connection with Nepal. We enjoy positive relationships with Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The potential for conflict between and within countries in the region is significant. Along with the potential for terrorism, there are implications for regional security. New Zealand works, often within multilateral groups, to promote security, peace, democracy, and respect for human rights in the wider region. We also work together to combat climate change.

Formal connections

New Zealand's formal connections with South Asian countries include our work with international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organisation (WTO) and regional organisations such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the East Asia Summit (EAS) and ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).


South Asia is an increasingly important trading destination for New Zealand. New Zealand is involved in negotiations toward a free trade agreement with India. New Zealand trade with Sri Lanka is growing while trade with other South Asian countries is relatively small. Exports are dominated by primary produce, while imported goods are largely made up of clothing and textiles.

Trade agreements


  • Commonwealth Scholarships are available for students from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
  • Bhutanese are eligible for scholarships(external link) through our New Zealand Aid Programme

Our relationship with South East Asia

South East Asian countries make up one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. It's a region of growing economic importance to New Zealand.

New Zealand's involvement in South East Asia rose sharply after World War II with defence connections and the education-focused Colombo Plan, designed to strengthen the economic and social development of member countries. The relationship now includes areas as diverse as science, technology, tourism, education and agricultural cooperation.

Formal connections

New Zealand's formal connections with South East Asian countries include our work with regional organisations such as Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (ADMM+), the East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) as well as international organisations such as the United Nations, and the World Trade Organisation (WTO).


ASEAN is a political and economic community of 10 South East Asian nations - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. It is a very important partner to New Zealand. New Zealand's Mission to ASEAN was formally opened in 2015, appointing an Ambassador to Jakarta, the seat of the ASEAN Secretariat. Indonesia is our current ASEAN Dialogue Partner. Singapore is the Chair of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit in 2018.

In 2009, New Zealand and Australia signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN (AANZFTA), and in 2013 the New Zealand Government launched the New Zealand Inc Strategy for ASEAN. This aims to coordinate efforts across New Zealand government, business and the wider community as we engage with these nations.

Find out more about ASEAN


Trade agreements and negotiations

We have three regional free trade agreements:


Our aid partnerships in Asia reflect New Zealand's strengths in agriculture, education and disaster resilience. The New Zealand Aid Programme gives country-specific support to Indonesia, Myanmar and Timor-Leste, and supports regional initiatives in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. These include the Mekong Institute, the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking, the Mekong River Commission(external link), and ASEAN-led initiatives such as the ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre.

Under the New Zealand Aid Programme Strategic Plan 2015-19, New Zealand will invest $200 million in ASEAN over the next three years.

Find out more about our aid work with Asia

Embassies and consular services for Asia

Location Service areas
New Zealand Embassy
New Zealand Consulate Nepal
New Zealand Consulate-General
New Zealand Embassy Cambodia, Laos, Thailand
New Zealand Embassy Myanmar
New Zealand Embassy Timor-Leste
New Zealand Embassy Philippines
New Zealand Embassy Viet Nam
New Zealand Embassy Korea, Democratic People's Republic of, Korea, Republic of
New Zealand Embassy and New Zealand Mission to ASEAN Indonesia
New Zealand Embassy to China China, Mongolia
New Zealand High Commission Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia
New Zealand High Commission Singapore Singapore
New Zealand High Commission to India Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka
New Zealand High Commission to Sri Lanka Maldives


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