Small to medium exporters could feel pinch of disruptions as Covid-19 surges in China

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The export sector is keeping a close watch on potential disruptions as China clamps down on a resurgence of Covid-19.

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Photo: AFP

Chinese authorities have announced its biggest city-wide lockdown since the pandemic began, with Shanghai, the country’s main financial centre, being locked down in two stages over nine days.

The city is home to the world’s busiest container port.

ExportNZ’s Catherine Beard said big bulk exports are flowing through so far, but small to medium players could soon start to feel the pinch.

“Smallest firms always get buffeted, they’ve had a really tough time through Covid just generally. They tend to be the price takers not the price makers [and] the bigger exporters have more clout and they get better looked after.

“So unfortunately yes, smaller exporters could be finding it quite tough.”

Beard said Chinese authorise are keen to minimise disruptions, and believes lessons have been learned from the global repercussions of its port closures.

China is New Zealand’s largest trading partner by some distance.

With the supply pressures over the past couple of years due to Covid-19, having options was also great for exporters, Beard said.

“The EU deal will be really significant as was the UK. It just means that our exporters will have choices of where to send products and they can be competitive.”

But despite the government looking to diversify its trade partnerships, Beard said the deal with China has provided “fantastic value” for Aotearoa.

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