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PM and business delegation to visit Latin America

5 November 2001 Media Statement

PM and senior NZ business delegation to visit Latin America


Prime Minister Helen Clark is visiting Latin America from 12 to 23 November, accompanied by a senior New Zealand business delegation.

The delegation, which represents a cross-section of New Zealand’s economic and trade interests, including agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, tourism and education sectors, will travel to Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina.

Helen Clark said it is important to promote New Zealand’s commercial interests in new markets such as Latin America, especially in the aftermath of 11 September.

“Last year the government launched the first New Zealand Latin American Strategy. Business and other contacts with Latin America are growing.

“Trade both ways has increased significantly, reflecting efforts by New Zealand companies to diversify the range of products they sell into this region. Annual exports to Latin America increased by 83 per cent, from $664 million in the year to June 2000 to $1.2 billion for the year to June 2001. Total imports from Latin America rose from $404 million to $560 million over the same period.

“Exports to Mexico jumped 144 per cent to $439 million, making it New Zealand’s sixteenth largest export market. Exports to Chile and Argentina rose ten per cent, despite the latter’s current economic difficulties, and exports to Brazil were up seven per cent. Uruguay was up 100 per cent to $13 million. Two-way trade with these five countries topped $1 billion.

“This is the first official prime ministerial visit to Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. In Brasilia I shall be opening the new New Zealand embassy – which symbolises New Zealand’s growing interest in the region.

“The visit will build on the relationships we are developing with Latin America. We work on disarmament issues in the New Agenda coalition with Mexico and Brazil, and on agricultural trade in the Cairns Group with Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

“I will also continue discussions with Chilean President Lagos on prospects for a closer economic partnership between New Zealand and Chile.

“People-to-people and cultural links are developing with Latin America. Working holiday schemes and visa abolition agreements are high on the agenda for this visit.

“A hiki tapu group, in addition to participating in the Brasilia embassy opening, will perform at functions and events in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. This is significant in a region where cultural relations are important,” Helen Clark said.

Latin America: CEO Delegation

- Greg Gent, Deputy Chairman of the Fonterra Co-operative Group (Delegation Leader)
- Michael Barnett, Chief Executive and Board member of the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Murray Davies, National President of the Export Institute of New Zealand
- Dr Allan Freeth, Chief Executive Officer of Wrightson
- Dr Graeme Fogelberg, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago
- George Hickton, Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand
- Shane Jones, Chairman of the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Te Ohu Kai Moana)
- Gary Monk, Managing Director of Intersea Limited
- Neil Sayer, Chief Executive of Glidepath
- Lester Taylor, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand
- Elmar Toime, Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand Post Limited
- Fran Wilde, Chief Executive of Trade New Zealand

ENDS

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