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Pacific trade with China

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Shanghai, China
The Pacific’s trade with China has been dominated by two countries namely Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Solomon Islands.

That’s according to the ANZ Pacific Quarterly released yesterday.

“On the exports side, PNG and the Solomon Islands dominate the region,” the report said.

The report noted that in the early 2000s, most Pacific exports to China were from PNG (95 percent in 2001); but by the mid-2000s, the Solomon Islands had begun to steadily increase its share and currently contributes a little more than one quarter.

“On the import side, PNG also currently holds the lion’s share, importing three times more than the second largest importer, Fiji.

“This has not always been the case; at the beginning of the decade, 51 percent of imports from China into the region went to Fiji while 38 percent went to PNG.

“Samoa’s share of imports from China is also interesting to note, doubling from 2009 to 2010,” the ANZ report said.

In 2009, the Pacific recorded its first recent trade deficit with China; but this reverted to a record trade surplus in 2010, the report further noted.

“From 2001 through to 2008, the Pacific ran a trade surplus with China which steadily grew each year from $78m to $214m. “

However, in 2009, the region ran its first deficit ($180m) as imports surged and exports faltered.

PNG recorded the largest deficit of $162m in 2009, while the only surplus in the

Pacific came from the Solomon Islands at $161m.

 In 2010 there was a sharp turnaround with PNG and the Solomon Islands reaching all-time trade balance highs of $427m and $258m with China, respectively, the report said.

The region’s surplus was $457m in 2010, six times the level in 2001.

“Interestingly, none of the remaining countries have ever run a trade surplus with China, with Fiji ($127m), Samoa ($70m) and Tonga ($10m) recording their largest deficits in 2010,” the report said.

Most Pacific countries had marginal increases in their share of exports to China in 2009, and the projections for 2010 are mixed.

More than half of the Solomon Island’s exports went to China in 2009, and with very strong export growth in 2010, it is likely that the share has remained.

Elsewhere, Samoa, Vanuatu, and Tonga all increased their share of exports going to China in 2009, while PNG’s share moderated.

 In 2010, PNG’s and Fiji’s export share is likely to have increased since export growth was strong, while Vanuatu and Tonga’s share is likely to have fallen due to weaker export numbers in 2010.

Samoa’s share is likely to have dropped the most as it experienced a one-off increase in 2009.

By MOFFAT MAMU