The global outlook might be cloudy but exporters are still sunny:
“The ExportNZ 2012 Survey shows the majority of exporters are still in a positive frame of mind despite exchange rate challenges and the lacklustre growth affecting some parts of the world economy”, says Catherine Beard, Executive Director of ExportNZ.
Just over half the respondents (51.8%) expected their profitability to improve in the next 12 months and 35.7% expect to employ more people. Over the next 12 months, 19.6% expect their orders to rise substantially and 48.8% said they expected orders to rise slowly.
The top 5 export destinations for respondents were Australia, North America, Europe (incl UK), China (incl Hong Kong) and ASEAN. . .
The main obstacles to exporting identified by respondents were demand offshore, exchange rate volatility, funding for developing export markets and price competitiveness of their products.
Regulatory barriers to export were more troublesome in overseas markets, where 34.1% had a problem than in New Zealand, only 13% mentioned domestic barriers.
The overseas barriers are mainly around issues such as tariffs, product registration, bureaucracy and non-tariff barriers – see full report for expanded list.
The domestic barriers mentioned included treatment of the export of education services (NZQA and immigration rules), food safety transaction costs, phytosanitary and AQIS costs and export freight costs.
The Ports of Auckland dispute affected 28% of Auckland respondents negatively and 15% of Tauranga exporters. Dollar figure losses ranged from $5,000-250,000, with one respondent having lost $4,000 a week. See full report for comments.
When asked if the Government was doing enough to support exporting 61.3% said no (down from 65% last year) and when asked what kind of Government assistance was favoured, the majority said Export Market Development, followed by R&D assistance.
When asked more generally what the priority issues were, development or venture capital was most important, followed by export market development and R&D.
Catherine Beard said the emphasis on more help needed for export market development probably reflects the fact that many of our exporters are relatively small by world standards. While 24% of respondents said capital was no constraint at all, for around 32% it is a real constraint.
The regions where respondents said they expected most growth were Australia, North America and China, and 40% of respondents expect to enter new markets in the next 12 months, which is encouraging.
Catherine Beard said it was good to see the resilience of the export sector in the survey results, particularly given the global slowdown and the volatile dollar.
“There is a significant list non-tariff barriers that exporters are battling and ExportNZ is keen to work with government officials to tackle them.”
This reinforces the importance of the work the government and officials are doing in negotiating free trade agreements.