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Waitakere set to sign historic trade agreement

MEDIA RELEASE

26 May 2008

Waitakere set to sign historic trade agreement with China

Waitakere is set to become the first city in New Zealand to sign an historic trade agreement with China.

The deal is a result of Mayor Bob Harvey’s recent trip to Waitakere’s Chinese sister city Ningbo, which closely followed the Prime Minister Helen Clark’s visit there and the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between China and New Zealand.

While in Ningbo Mayor Harvey met Mr Bayin Chaolu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of Ningbo People’s Congress, a highly placed Beijing-appointed official of extreme importance. The pair spoke about the agreement and indeed identified five Chinese companies keen to do business with Waitakere and New Zealand – a car manufacturer, a computer company, a print business, an environmental housing project and a water purification plant.

“When I was in China it was very clear Clark’s Free Trade Agreement had paved the way for a mutually beneficial relationship between China and New Zealand and because of our 10-year relationship with Ningbo we were in a very good position to start negotiations,” says Mayor Harvey.

“This is an opportunity not just for Waitakere business but New Zealand business and Mr Bayin Chaolu will visit as soon as possible to sign the agreement with the city.”

The planned agreement gives Waitakere the scope to take New Zealand businesses to China and to open markets for business opportunities.

“The opportunity is enormous,” says Mayor Harvey. “This will see the start of our business arm, Waitakere Enterprise, acting as the agent in finding New Zealand companies willing to partner Chinese ones.”

Waitakere Enterprise is drafting the agreement which will hopefully be signed within the next two months.

Mayor Harvey adds the agreement reminds him of the situation in the 1960s when Japanese companies went looking for partners globally with brands such as Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki.

“Smart, local and often very small companies saw the potential and signed up to what would become world leading brands.”

ENDS

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