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Exporters urged to look at Thai opportunities

NZTE urges exporters to look at high-value opportunities in Thailand

5 July 2005 – New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is urging New Zealand exporters to look at high-value opportunities following Closer Economic Partnership (CEP) agreement with Thailand which came into force on July 1.

“Thailand has long been an important market for New Zealand and exports are up by 4% to $349 million (May 2005). It is a key Asian market for New Zealand and due to Thailand’s strategic position in the region, can be a conduit for other opportunities. But up to this point, it has been very much a market for our commodities,” says Dr Neil Maxwell, NZTE Group General Manager for South East Asia.

NZTE’s Thailand office has identified other New Zealand sectors which could benefit from the CEP.

“We are working towards pushing our food and beverage products into higher-value retail. For example, we recently organised a visit from the TOPS supermarket, which is one of the largest supermarket chains in Thailand. They visited a range of New Zealand businesses and thought there were some well packaged niche products which would appeal to Thai consumers,” says Dr Maxwell.

“Apart from higher value F&B opportunities, Thailand is also committed to using education and technology to develop a knowledge-based economy, creating opportunities for New Zealand in tertiary education, e-learning, software development and IT consulting.”

And there’s a growing appreciation of what New Zealand has to offer.

“The Thai market is large, growing and sophisticated. There is a strong middle class – brand conscious, well travelled and with increasing spending power,” says Dr Maxwell.

“New Zealand excellence in one area can create opportunities in others. Take international education for example. Visiting students and their parents are discovering the quality of our food and wine and the sophistication of our fashion, thereby creating both a demand and a quality image.”

New Zealand exporters have an excellent opportunity to employ strategies which target the upper end of the value chain, he adds.

“But achieving success in the Thai market will be no cakewalk. The culture and business protocols are in certain aspects unique. But we have an opportunity now to turn potential into reality.”


Editor’s Notes

A series of seminars, organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and NZTE were held around New Zealand in May 2005 to highlight the opportunities for New Zealand exporters in Thailand. Please visit this link to view actual case studies of New Zealand firms doing business in Thailand.

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