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Goff to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil

Goff to Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil

Foreign Minister Phil Goff leaves for Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil today on a nine-day trip to strengthen political relationships with three countries targeted by the government’s Latin America Strategy.

Mr Goff said his trip presented an opportunity to build on the contact made by the Prime Minister's visit in November 2001, and to raise New Zealand’s trade and economic profile in all three countries.

“The government is committed to forging closer links with Latin America at political, economic and personal levels. It is a region of huge potential for New Zealand, and we want to encourage Latin Americans to look at what New Zealand has to offer," Mr Goff said.

“Argentina and Brazil have significant political and economic influence in their region and beyond. Brazil, with a population of 170 million, is also a huge potential market for New Zealand, particularly in agritechnology.

"Argentina has a new government and while its economy has had hard times recently, it is now back on track and offers good prospects for New Zealand businesses. We also want to develop our relationship with Uruguay, which has an agriculture-based economy like our own, and offers opportunities in the areas of agricultural science and technology.

"All three countries are also important partners on international issues, and we share a number of common objectives in trade, environment and human rights."

Mr Goff will meet a range of ministers in each country. In Argentina he will deliver a speech to the Council for International Relations on building a wider relationship; in Uruguay he will meet President Batlle and lay a wreath at the burial site of HMNZS Achilles sailors in Montevideo, and in Brazil he will make a speech to a restorative justice conference in Brasilia, and visit Dairy Partners Americas (the headquarters of a Fonterra-Nestle joint venture) and the Telexpo trade fair in Sao Paulo.

Mr Goff will also talk to the Brazilians about establishing a Working Holiday Scheme.

“The Working Holiday Schemes we have established with Argentina and Uruguay are good examples of how we are fostering people-to-people links with Latin America. It is a great way for our young people to get to know each other’s countries and cultures.

"We already have around 1400 Brazilian students studying in New Zealand, as well as a number from Argentina and Uruguay, and education is certainly another area that provides scope for greater engagement with the region," Mr Goff said.

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