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New Customs post in Tokyo to open opportunities in North Asia

08.42am 22 July 2022 | News

Customs has established a new Counsellor position in Japan, with the newly-appointed representative having headed to Tokyo this week.

“Japan is a long standing, close partner of New Zealand and having our new Customs Counsellor in Tokyo will help strengthen the bilateral relationship and promote collaboration to bolster economic prosperity and enhance regional security with the North Asia region,” Deputy Chief Executive of International and Governance, Jamie Bamford said.

In addition to enhancing Customs' relationships with Japan, the new Counsellor will also be responsible for maintaining a relationship with South Korea and its customs administration to generate more opportunities in the wider region, Jamie Bamford said.

“North Asia is an important region for New Zealand. It offers huge potential for future New Zealand trade with a regional population of more than 1.5 billion people, and has some of the world’s fastest growing and most powerful industrial economies.”

In 2021, North Asia accounted for over 44% of New Zealand’s goods exports worth $28.22 billion - mainly of primary produce such as meat, dairy, and logs. It also accounted for just over 36% of our imports, worth $23.94 billion.

Three of New Zealand’s top five goods trading partners are in North Asia. China is our largest, followed by Japan which is our fourth largest, and South Korea is our fifth largest goods trading partner.

“New Zealand also shares border security concerns with the region as transnational criminal groups in North Asia continue to target New Zealand for their illicit smuggling operations. Our new presence in Japan will further enhance Customs’ roles in both these areas of trade promotion and border protection,” Jamie Bamford said.

 “Having a Customs Counsellor on the ground in the North Asian region fits with the key role Customs plays supporting New Zealand Inc. It means Kiwi exporters have someone right there in the region should they need help locating a consignment or clearing up a misunderstanding that may be holding up their goods getting to market,” Mr Bamford said.

Customs already has representatives based in Beijing, Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Brussels, London, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Canberra.