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Confident Future For Japan NZ relations

Media release, 2 November 2009
Business Leaders Confident Of Future Of Japan NZ Relationship

Business leaders attending the Japan NZ Partnership Forum held in Tokyo on Friday 30 October agree that the event has served to strengthen the relationship and make further progress towards the goal of a future free trade agreement between Japan and New Zealand.

Hon Philip Burdon, the Chairman of the Asia New Zealand Foundation, co-chaired the event alongside Mr Yoshihiko Miyauchi, Chairman of the Asia Pacific Committee of the Japan Business Federation.

“Under our theme Partnership and the Real Economy we considered the outlook for our two economies and the extent to which businesses in both Japan and New Zealand are focusing on what needs to be done to remain competitive in the current fragile climate.

“Whether confronting the economic crisis, responding to consumer concerns on sustainable resources and energy, addressing food safety and security issues or building the framework for deeper economic integration in the region, there was ready agreement that Japan and New Zealand need to work together to grow this partnership further,” said Mr Burdon.

Over 100 government, business and academic leaders attended the Forum which was held under the Chatham House rule. Key note addresses at the Forum were delivered by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Hon John Key, Special Advisor to Prime Minister Hatoyama Mr Yoshikatsu Nakayama and New Zealand Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully. Global CEO for Saatchi and Saatchi Kevin Roberts addressed the Forum lunch which showcased New Zealand food products. Forum delegates attended an evening reception in the Giant Rugby Ball located at the foot of Tokyo Tower.

Mr Burdon said the Forum highlighted the role that expanded trade and investment could play as drivers of the economic recovery.

“We underlined the urgent need to complete the WTO’s Doha round and the desirability to move forward with arrangements within the Asia Pacific region and bilaterally between New Zealand and Japan to further expand trade and investment.”

Graeme Harrison, Chairman of the New Zealand International Business Forum which organized the Partnership Forum, said there was plenty of support expressed at the event from Japanese delegates for a future free trade agreement between Japan and New Zealand.

“Forum participants urged their governments to accelerate the process now underway to examine the basis of a future economic partnership arrangement. We hope that the new Japanese Government will consider this in the context of its initiative to promote the concept of an East Asian Community. We are pleased with the understandings reached between Prime Ministers Key and Hatoyama in this regard.”

Mr Harrison said that that the second Forum had built on the success of the first Forum held in Tokyo in May 2008.

“The Forum provides a valuable platform for strengthening the relationship and drawing attention to New Zealand capabilities in Japan. We intend to reconvene the Forum within the next 18 months at a time and place to be determined,” concluded Mr Harrison.

About the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) – www.nzibf.co.nz

NZIBF is a business organisation which aims to generate wealth for New Zealanders by helping ensure that New Zealand enterprises are fully integrated and engaged in the global economy and New Zealand’s global competitive position is maximised. NZIBF provides leadership, works with companies and other business organisations to implement key projects and articulates New Zealand’s international business priorities to both the New Zealand Government and stakeholders. NZIBF participants represent companies and sectors with a turnover of over $20 billion. In May 2008 NZIBF held the first ever Japan NZ Partnership Forum in Tokyo. In June 2009 NZIBF held the first ever Korea NZ Business Roundtable in Seoul. The second Japan NZ Partnership Forum was held in Tokyo on 30 October 2009. A programme and delegation lists are available at www.nzibf.co.nz

ENDS

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