New Caledonia’s diplomatic representation in New Zealand [fr]
The Nouméa Accord of 9 May 1998 authorised certain competences previously held by France to be transferred to New Caledonia, through an ongoing process. These transfers are irreversible. France will remain competent in the sovereign areas of law and order, justice, defence and currency. External affairs are a competence shared between the Government of the French Republic and the Government of New Caledonia.
As New Zealand’s closest neighbor, New Caledonia, an Overseas country and territory (OCT) of the European Union (EU), is a potential portal into France and the EU markets (EU Overseas Association Decision of December 2013). In 2015, New Caledonia’s imports to the EU totaled € 200 million, while exports amounted to € 1.2 billion.
Within the Pacific region, New Caledonia has embarked on a strengthened integration process within its regional environment, in particular by developing an Economic Diplomacy policy, based on support to exporting companies and the implementation of an Export governance.
In terms of regional cooperation, New Caledonia, a member of a dozen regional and / or international organizations, became a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) at the 47th PIF Leaders summit (Pohnpei, 7- 11 September 2016).
New Caledonia has the third highest GDP per capita (€ 29,400, 2015) in the Pacific region, after Australia and New Zealand.
On bilateral relations with New Zealand, a Joint Cooperation Plan, setting out the framework and objectives of a bilateral trade relation was signed on 10 September on the sidelines of the 47th PIF Leaders Summit in Pohnpei.
The Plan, which aims to encourage economic partnerships, aims to help strengthen political and economic ties between New Caledonia and New Zealand.
New Caledonia is the third largest holder of global nickel reserves (11%), after Brazil (13%) and Australia (23%). As the 6th largest producer of nickel in the world, New Caledonia holds 25% of the world’s nickel resources.
Nickel ore exploitation represents 90% of New Caledonian exports and 10% of its GDP, and generated revenues of 920 M€ in 2015.
New Caledonia benefits from significant financial transfers from France totaling 16 to 18% of the Territory’s GDP.
In 2015, non-nickel exports reached 72 M€. The following 10 New Caledonian products show export potential for Pacific Island countries, and for Australia and New Zealand:
i) Decks and fences made of composite wood (recycled composite wood from sawmills);
ii) Hydroponic cropping systems, suitable for small farmsteads. Exports to Vanuatu in 2012 and Wallis and Futuna in 2014;
iii) PVC paneling, with applications for ceilings and interior linings. Exports to New Zealand in 2015;
iv) Solar water heaters, exported to Australia, French Polynesia and Wallis and Futuna;
v) Tuna and farmed shrimp, exported to Japan and France;
vi) Sea cucumbers exported to China;
vii) Agricultural products manufactured for "mouth" niche markets (jams, vanilla, pickled vegetables and cooked chili/pepper);
viii) Sandalwood oil;
ix) Nickel slag;
x) Services (environment, renewable energy, innovation).
On a bilateral basis, New Caledonia represented New Zealand’s third largest export market in the Pacific region in 2015. New Zealand exported 101 M€ to New Caledonia, with imports reaching 1.56 M€.
In 2015, New Zealand represented for New Caledonia:
the eighth-ranked supplier of goods,
the second largest supplier of food products,
the number three tourist destination for New Caledonian residents,
the number three destination for New Caledonian real estate investments.
In November 2012, New Caledonia opened its first overseas diplomatic representation housed in the French Embassy in Wellington. The opening of the New Caledonia Delegation in New Zealand (the Delegation), and the appointment of Dr Yves Lafoy as its “Official Representative”, are the outcomes of a 2012 agreement signed between France and New Caledonia, paving the way for New Caledonia to establish its own Diplomatic network within the Pacific region.
The role of the Delegation is two-fold:
- Bilateral: to reinforce political dialogue between New Caledonia and New Zealand, and to grow cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, culture and education, and science and innovation;
- Multilateral: to oversee New Caledonia’s role and activities with the Pacific Islands Forum and its member countries.
In 2016, thirty-two initiatives were carried out and/or coordinated by the Delegation. Seven contributed to strengthening the bilateral political dialogue, and twenty-two consisted of promoting New Caledonia’s economic appeal. They included:
the creation of a New Caledonia-New Zealand Business Club in February in Auckland, to boost bilateral trade and commerce;
the creation of the New Caledonia-New Zealand Business Club in March in Noumea,
a series of ’speed dating’ one-on-one meetings with New Caledonian entrepreneurs willing to export products and/or services to New Zealand,
the updating of the database on New Caledonian and New Zealand entrepreneurs engaged in trade exchanges,
the signing of the Administrative Arrangement and the Exchange of Letters between France and New Zealand amending the Air Services Agreement of 1967 (Auckland, 2 May);
the signature of the Joint Cooperation Plan between New Caledonia and New Zealand (10 September, Pohnpei), capitalizing on the two visits to New Zealand by the President of the Government (May and June) which aimed at intensifying bilateral institutional and trade relations,
the organization in November in Noumea of the Pacific Trade and Invest agency (PT& I) Path To Market’s seminar, dedicated to the export of New Caledonian products and services to New Zealand,
the contribution to New Caledonia’s admission as a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum (Sept. 10), the Official Representative having overseen that matter since 2009.
In 2017, the Delegation will focus on:
supporting New Caledonia’s companies in their efforts to assess the New Zealand market,
facilitating the development of "joint ventures" between New Caledonia and New Zealand companies, together with enhancing skills transfer and investments in New Caledonia;
promoting New Caledonia as a tourist destination.
Further promoting New Caledonia’s economic appeal to New Zealand government agencies and companies interested in the New Caledonian market, by raising awareness of the Export Support policy guidelines, amongst other measures
increasing exchanges with New Zealand government ministries and agencies to discuss the political and economic implications of New Caledonia’s admission as a full member of the Pacific Islands Forum