Facts and figures: Cook Islands trade gap with New Zealand widens


The latest figures indicate that the Cook Islands has the widest trade gap of any Pacific Island Forum country with New Zealand.<!--more--> For the calendar year 2011, the Cook Island imported a little over NZ$ 100 million worth of goods from New Zealand, while exporting just NZ$ 479,629. This makes the trade gap ratio 201:1.

Much of the Cook Islands’ export includes waste and scrap metal and unmounted black pearls. Despite New Zealand investments to revitalise the black pearl industry, exports have not grown. In fact in calendar year 2011, pearl exports were down to NZ$ 85,658 representing just 17.9% of the country’s total exports while waste and scrap metal exports amounted to NZ$ 135,770, or 28.3% of total exports.

Since June 2011, there have been just two shipments of pearls, one just over NZ$ 20,000 in October, and a small quantity in January 2012 (the October spike could well have been because of the exposure that the industry got at the Pacific Showcase in Auckland ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Food and beverage category exports were just NZ$ 107,987 (or 22.5%) and about 50% of that was juice (presumably noni juice). Much of the remaining balance was made up of value added products like mechanical and electrical machinery, motor vehicles, medical equipment. Handicrafts exports remained small at about 2%, works of art making up the bulk of this item, at less than NZ$ 7000.