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PM To Visit North Asia

2 April 2001

Prime Minister Helen Clark today announced plans for an official visit to Japan, Hong Kong and China from 11 to 21 April.

Helen Clark said that delegations representing important New Zealand trade and economic interests in Japan, China and Hong Kong will travel with her.

"Just as the government is involving business in its efforts to lift our national performance, so too must government and business work together to expand trading links, especially with dynamic regions like Asia," Helen Clark said

"Japan, Hong Kong and China take twenty per cent of New Zealand exports between them, a relationship which earned $5.6 billion last year.

"In Japan on the first leg of the trip, from 11-16 April, I will be exploring with political and business leaders a strategy for New Zealand's future links with this key market.

"Japan is our third largest trading partner, and has the potential to generate considerable increased wealth for the New Zealand economy. We cannot afford to stand on the sidelines as others in the region, such as Australia and Singapore, move to strengthen their economic ties with Japan.

“A day-long programme in Hong Kong on 17 April will be a valuable opportunity to build ties with New Zealand's seventh largest export market and our sixth largest source of foreign investment.

"As well as meeting business leaders in Hong Kong, I will also be opening an Education New Zealand fair.

“Another round of business engagements follow in Shanghai on 18 and 19 April before travelling to Beijing, where I will meet President Jiang Zemin and Premier Zhu Rongji.

"My message to these two powerful figures will be that New Zealand wants to position itself as a preferred economic partner for China in the lead-up to its accession to the World Trade Organisation.

"Our trade with China is diversifying from a strong primary sector base. Tourism and education services are rapidly growing areas for New Zealand-China trade," Helen Clark said.


The business delegation accompanying the Prime Minister comprises:

Japan: Kerry McDonald, Chair, Comalco and Chair, Japan-New Zealand Business Council
Russell Marshall, Chair, Education New Zealand
Doug Voss, Chair , Zespri
Bill Falconer, Chair, Meat Industry Association
Dr William Rolleston, Director, South Pacific Sera
Stuart McKinlay, CEO, Pan Pac Forest Products Limited
George Hickton, CEO, Tourism New Zealand

China: Wendy Pye, CEO, Wendy Pye Ltd
Stuart McKinlay, CEO, Pan Pac Forest Products Limited
George Hickton, CEO, Tourism New Zealand
James Boonzaier, Group Managing Director, Tower Insurance Limited
Professor Bryan Gould, Vice Chancellor, University of Waikato
Malcolm Bailey, New Zealand Special Agricultural Trade Ambassador
Ross Wilson, President, CTU

Ends


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