Exporters hope that China and New Zealand can keep politics out of their longstanding trade ties.
It comes after the government joined a group of United States allies who pointed the finger at China for supporting cybercriminal activities around the world.
An analyst has suggested that New Zealand could face a trade impact due to the confrontation, but the export and agricultural sectors hope the impact will be limited.
Export New Zealand executive director Catherine Beard said the government’s decision to convict China of cybercrime is a necessary but difficult step.
“I think New Zealand really has no choice but to speak up when we uncover such activity. I don’t think New Zealand would do that to any other country.”
Beard said the trade impact of the government’s stance was a big problem, but she hoped the two countries could keep politics and trade separate.
“We hope that we can raise concerns about problems without affecting trade and that we can continue to work together and serve each other’s markets.”
Former trade negotiator and diplomat Charles Finny, a leading negotiator of the Sino-New Zealand free trade agreement in 2008, said that although GCSB Minister Andrew Little’s statement on the hacking attacks was unusually firm and pointed, he would be surprised if it had serious implications such as outcome .
“If we were the only country criticizing China in this area I could see a weak spot, but why would China want revenge against New Zealand when others are saying exactly the same … so I think we are in such great company ? gives me some comfort. “
Federated Farmers’ national president and trade spokesman Andrew Hoggard also remained optimistic.
“I think it shows to me that we have an independent foreign policy, we call things as we see them, but I also hope that we can keep politics and stuff out of commerce, especially the grocery trade.”
Beard said there would be a lot at stake if trade went sour. China took on more than $ 19 billion in New Zealand exports in the twelve months ended June last year.
“Our exporters have options, they don’t have all of their trade in one market. But China is a very valuable market for us and we don’t want to see this change.”
The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand describes the allegations against cyber criminals as unfounded and irresponsible.
She has objected directly to the government, asking them to stop their sludge throwers and abandon their Cold War mentality.
Little has turned down interviews, a spokesman said his testimony was complete.