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NZPBC Represents Business on Pacific Mission

6th June 2006

NZPBC Represents Business on Pacific Mission

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Hon. Winston Peters is currently leading a delegation to the Cook Islands and Vanuatu, where he is accompanied by Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban. The New Zealand Pacific Business Council (NZPBC) has been selected to represent the private sector in relation to the trade aspect of this mission.

NZPBC’s chairman, Gilbert Ullrich (Ullrich Aluminium), the two Deputy Chairmen, Bede Mahoney (W.H Grove & Sons Ltd) and Melino Maka (TAPA International), along with Bruce Birtwistle (Bellingham Marine), Paul Hancock (Tegel Foods Ltd) and Kevin Dent (Fletcher Aluminium).

The 23 Pacific Island nations are not only important to New Zealand from a political and diplomatic point of view, but also because of their commercial importance to New Zealand’s international trade. Whilst they may be viewed individually as comparatively small economies, collectively these 23 countries provide New Zealand with its single largest annual regional trade surplus of NZ$944 million.

The Cook Islands and Vanuatu represent important Pacific markets for New Zealand business, as collectively they contribute a merchandise trade surplus of just over NZ$101 million. The latest trade statistics show that New Zealand’s exports to the Cook Islands as at the year ending April 2006 had reached NZ$78 million, with exports to Vanuatu totalling NZ$25 million.

The trade mission hopes to encourage more trade with both markets, as imports from the Cook Islands are only NZ$1.2 million, and Vanuatu NZ$0.7 million.

NZPBC’s participation in the trade mission will endeavour to address this trade gap, by exploring opportunities to encourage “two-way” trade. At the same time they will also be looking at the prospects of further increasing New Zealand exports to these two countries. This is very much a private sector initiative, working in partnership with the government, which recognises the importance of the Pacific Island nations to New Zealand, and this country’s responsibilities to its Pacific neighbours. New Zealand businesses are interested in both export and import markets, as well as investment opportunities; which includes the growing Pacific tourist industry.

- NZ Pacific Business Council


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