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Auckland in business talks with Japanese delegates

Auckland is in business talks with one of the largest Japanese delegations to visit New Zealand

A high-level delegation of Japanese business leaders provides a golden opportunity for Auckland and its ambitious businesses to forge closer economic ties with a major trading partner.

The 120-strong delegation from the Kansai Economic Federation is visiting Auckland from April 27 to May 1 to experience the last exciting days of the World Masters Games 2017, which has attracted 28,000 participants – and to make new business contacts.

The Kansai region is staging the World Masters Games 2021, the first time the games will be held in Asia since the event was introduced in 1985. The delegation comprises Japanese companies that sponsor, or own, local Kansai sports teams and clubs, and the delegation wants to learn about Auckland’s experience of leveraging major sports events, its tourism promotion and its regional economic development.

Auckland’s economic growth agency, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) the parent company of World Masters Games 2017, will host a large section of the high-powered delegation on April 30 – in conjunction with the Japan New Zealand Business Council.

The function will enable Auckland businesses to network and connect with executives of some of Japan’s leading companies. The companies represented include Obayashi Corporation, Iwatani Corporation, Rengo Co, Sumitomo Electric Industries, The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Maruichi Steel Tube, Hitachi Shipbuilding Corporation, Daikin Industries and KOKUYO.

“There is a focus on sport in Japan, just as there is in New Zealand, and with the link to the World Masters Games 2017, there’s no better platform than using sport to build personal business relationships,’’ says Ian Kennedy, chair of the Japan New Zealand Business Council. “This is a great opportunity to meet the leaders of Japan’s second largest economic region.

“Traditionally the trade relationship has been primary products exports from New Zealand and cars and electronics imports from Japan. We are now seeing the rise of creative, knowledge-intensive businesses in New Zealand as well and they too have the chance to explore possibilities with Japan.

“Japanese companies have looked to their own market first and then exported, but in today’s global economy these companies, particularly in the finance sector, are looking for investment opportunities,’’ says Kennedy.

Japan is New Zealand’s fifth largest export market worth $3.88 billion, and two-way trade is worth $7.23 billion. Food and beverage products make up more than 50 per cent of the top 10 exports.

ATEED will present the Auckland growth story to the visiting delegation. Patrick McVeigh, ATEED’s General Manager Business, Innovation and Skills, says “Auckland is now described as one of the most dynamic city economies in the world, with a vibrant innovation ecosystem.

“We have identified high-growth industry sectors such as technology, food and beverage, screen and creative, advanced materials and commercial services. Auckland is in a position to export more high-value goods and services, and with the economic transformation taking place there are plenty of investment opportunities in our region,’’ says McVeigh.

“Businesses are now seeing Auckland as a gateway to the Asia-Pacific market.”

The Kansai Economic Federation, for instance, has targeted health and medical as an area for innovation. McVeigh says Auckland has world-class expertise, including research and development, in health IT and medical devices and there is an opportunity to collaborate with the Kansai region.

The Japan New Zealand Business Council is holding its annual joint meeting with Japanese members in Osaka on November 20-22, providing another opportunity for the Auckland businesses to strengthen trade relationships – following the visit of the Kansai delegation.


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