Former Green MP Nandor Tanczos asked on the blogs whether imports also grew by 60%, being of the view that increased imports would be a bad thing. Sadly for opponents of free trade deals, the imports from China increased by only 15%. So what a success story for Goff – exports up 60% from China during the worst global recession in 70 years, and imports only up 15%.We would expect our exports to China to grow more quickly than imports from there with this kind of deal; China's markets were more protected than New Zealand's prior to the change and New Zealand is much smaller than China.
Personally I would not regard it as a bad thing if imports had grown more than 15%. You can’t logically be in favour of one way trade and think we should be able to export as much as possible, but restrict what other countries can export. If imports from China are up, this means NZ consumers are getting to buy goods more cheaply, and it also continues to lift more and more Chinese out of poverty. China’s emergence as the world’s manufacturer has done more to reduce the number of global citizens in absolute poverty than 50 years of aid budgets.
Personally, I would not regard it as a bad thing if imports grew by more than exports. Remember that imports are a good thing and exports are the horrible price we have to pay in order to afford to import. To paraphrase Don Boudreaux, I'd be very very happy if I could, from the Principality of Cramptonia in South Brighton, Christchurch, import much more from my local supermarket without having to export more services to the University of Canterbury. And, indeed, if anyone is willing to dump products on Cramptonia at less than their cost of production, so long as I value the goods, I'm more than happy for them to do so.