China-Pacific Islands trade worth US$7.5b in 2016

After China-Pacific Islands two-way trade doubled in value in 2015 to US$7.5b, it stabilised in 2016 at the same total value according to new trade statistics released by Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) China).

Chinese exports to the 13 Pacific Island Countries grew by US$330 million in 2016

“Pacific Island Countries have developed successful export markets for energy and mineral resources, timber and fish in China,” said David Morris, the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner to China.

“There is also room in China’s fast-changing consumer market for niche products of high quality and unique branding from the Pacific,” Mr Morris said.  “A great example is how Fiji has leveraged its famous natural beauty and pure environment to generate exports of natural water to China worth US$4.1million in 2016, up from $2.2million in 2015.”

Total exports to China from 13 Island member states of the Pacific Islands Forum were valued at US$2.1 billion in 2016, down from US$2.4 billion in 2015.

Papua New Guinea continued to lead Pacific Island exports to China, comprising mainly liquid natural gas, timber and nickel, at a total of US$1.7 billion in 2016. The Pacific Island Country with the highest imports from China was the Marshall Islands, at a total value of about US$4 billion, largely representing the sale of foreign flagged vessels.

The Federated States of Micronesia and Kiribati increased fish exports to China by 413 per cent (to US$6.9 million) and 137 per cent (to US$9.5 million) respectively.

The Marshall Islands exported 20 per cent less fish to China than the year before (valued at US$20 million), Solomon Islands exports of timber products were down 17 per cent (to US$364 million) and the value of mineral fuel exports from Papua New Guinea dropped 19 per cent in 2016 to $800 million.

Chinese exports to the 13 Pacific Island Countries grew by US$330 million in 2016 to a total value of $5.4 billion. Significant increases included electrical machinery to Fiji, up 71 per cent, plastics to the Solomon Islands, up 48 per cent, and marine vessels to the Marshall Islands, up 25 per cent in 2016.

Trade figures for New Caledonia and French Polynesia, new members of the Pacific Islands Forum since late 2016, are not included in the above statistics, to provide like-with-like comparison with previous years, but will be included in future trade statistics. New Caledonia exports to China in 2016 reached US$495.2 million and those from French Polynesia were worth $6.6 million.

China’s exports to New Caledonia and French Polynesia in 2016 were valued at $87.6 million and $51.8 million respectively. Statistics for one other Pacific Island Country, Niue, are not available.

The Pacific Islands Forum’s China-based Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission publishes trade statistics annually.

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) China works for the member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum to support sustainable development through the promotion of Pacific-China trade, investment and tourism.

The trade statistics are available here

For more information, please email David Morris, Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner to China

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