WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key played down fears of a trade spat with China late on Sunday, saying the Asian giant had given no signs that it had concerns with New Zealand.
He made the comments in Jakarta after reports that China could take retaliatory action against New Zealand exporters if the government launches an official investigation into alleged steel dumping by China.
Key traveled to Indonesia for a three-day trip after visiting Europe.
The news website stuff.co.nz reported that China was angry at inquiries made by New Zealand into a glut of Chinese steel imports flooding the market.
Lawyers for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are deciding whether the investigation should proceed, the website reported.
Key said he could not confirm whether the MBIE had received a complaint, due to confidentiality issues, but told reporters: "There are no indications they (China) have concerns with us."
"I regularly see the Chinese leadership, the Chinese ambassador has my phone number if he wants to pick it up and make a phone call - none of those things have happened," he said, according to stuff.co.nz.
Trade Minister Todd McClay also traveled to Indonesia and said he would be asking officials to contact the Chinese embassy in Wellington to clarify its position on competition issues, according to the New Zealand Herald.
(Reporting by Rebecca Howard; Editing by Kevin Liffey)