How Standards support international trade interview with Catherine Beard


12 December 2012

A new 'Lifting export performance' report by NZIER for ExportNZ looks at what is holding New Zealand back, the effectiveness of export policies, and how best to move forward. We talked to Catherine Beard, Executive Director of Export NZ, ManufacturingNZ, and BusinessNZ, about exporting and manufacturing, and Standards.

Standards New Zealand: What is the focus of the new 'Lifting export performance' report?

Catherine Beard: The focus of the report is on addressing New Zealand's big issues – its smallness and isolation. As 50% of our exports come from manufacturing, the report is a relevant reality check. We need to grapple with the hard issues and the report helps us to start the debate about how to lift export performance.

We often talk about what is the best operating environment we can achieve for exporters and manufacturers and are there any barriers to growth and exporting that need to be tackled. In my role as Executive Director of Export NZ, ManufacturingNZ, and Business NZ, I am the spokesperson for these sectors and I advocate for them to policy makers and the Government. I'll be talking to politicians in the New Year about the report and how vital it is to get the policy framework right.

Standards New Zealand: How important are Standards in manufacturing?

Manufacturers in New Zealand tend to focus on a niche and they try not to compete with low cost, large volume products out of China, instead focusing on customised, bespoke products. Standards are particularly important in manufacturing for two reasons.

First, if you are innovating, you want the Standards to reflect the latest innovations, so it's important for manufacturers to stay close to the Standards process. If they are involved, they can see new trends.

Second, it's important for manufacturers looking to get into the export market. If there's a common Standard, it lowers the transaction cost of getting the product into the market. For example in the European Union, if there's one common Standard, it's very helpful for business. Read more.


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