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New Consul General To Hong Kong

New Zealand's next Consul General in Hong Kong would be Frank Wilson, Acting Foreign Minister Jim Sutton announced today.

He said the bilateral relationship with Hong Kong was sound, and new initiatives were underway which would further enrich these broad-ranging ties.

Hong Kong is New Zealand's 13th largest trading partner, seventh largest export market and sixth largest source of foreign investment. Both are committed to trade liberalisation, and cooperate extensively in APEC and the WTO.

"New Zealand and Hong Kong have entered into exploratory discussions over a possible Closer Economic Partnership. We see this as a positive development which would inject a new vitality to our economic relationship with Hong Kong.

"At the people to people level, Hong Kong and New Zealand have agreed to develop a Working Holiday Scheme which will increase the level of contact between our young people and broaden their experiences of each other's cultures and business practice.

"Education linkages are another increasingly important dimension of the bilateral relationship. With approximately 1430 Hong Kong students currently studying in New Zealand, the potential is there to expand our share in this market."

Mr Sutton said Mr Wilson would be in an important position to steer New Zealand's interests in these exciting times, as well as reinforcing the goodwill and access that has built up with Hong Kong's business and political leaders.

Mr Wilson is currently the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry's South and Southeast Asia division director. He has served previously in Saigon, Vienna, Moscow, Bangkok and most recently in Santiago, where he was ambassador.

He takes up his position mid-year, replacing James Kember, who is returning to Wellington.

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