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PM Speech To Go Global Conference

Rt Hon Helen Clark Prime Minister - Address at Go Global Conference

The Edge, Aotea Centre Auckland

9.15 am

Friday 25 February 2005

Thank you for inviting me to open the conference today.

I have come because of the great importance the government attaches to exporting, and to encouraging our up and coming and innovative small and medium sized companies to take advantage of the many opportunities which exist offshore.

Our domestic market is obviously a small one. That means that for most companies their size will remain small if they restrict their operations to New Zealand.

But the good news is that this country has world leading goods and services which can command a premium price offshore.

The objective of a conference like this is to show how smart products, branding, and market strategies can carry even our smallest companies to success in the global marketplace.

At this conference, you will hear from those who have taken on the world and won, and are prepared to share their experience of what worked for them.

And you’ve already heard from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise on the work they are doing on Brand NZ and the New Zealand New Thinking Initiative.

In my few minutes this morning I want to highlight some of the initiatives the government is taking to open up markets for New Zealand exporters and to profile New Zealand in critical markets.

In trade policy terms, there is no doubt that the work we are doing in the WTO round is of the greatest significance long term.

But the negotiations are also long term !

The last world trade round took eight years to complete !

This one – the Doha round – is in its fourth year, and has a way to run yet. So our government has also pursued a range of other initiatives to make it easier for our companies to do business offshore.

Let’s start with Australia – the biggest market for our manufactured goods.

Our FTA with Australia, CER, is more than twenty years old, and many New Zealand companies got their start in exporting there.

Now we are working with Australia on developing a single economic market – in which we harmonise as far as we can our business law and regulation. That’s what the Australian Treasurer, Peter Costello, and our Finance Minister, Michael Cullen, were discussing in Wellington last week.

The FTA with Singapore was signed in 2000, and it has had spin offs into our education and science relationships as well as for business.

Certainly Singapore encourages us to see it as the logical hub for our businesses seeking to export into East Asia, and India.

We are also together with Singapore currently negotiating a three way FTA with Chile – and there is an expectation that it will be able to be settled this year.

We have been building up our relationship with Chile in a number of ways – and it has the potential to be an entry point to South America for our companies wanting to gain experience of operating on the continent.

There are a number of developments in our trade relationships in East Asia.

On July 1st, the FTA with Thailand comes into force, and we have begun negotiations on an FTA with China.

We are also working with Malaysia on a study on a proposed FTA.

It is crucial that the business community is aware of these negotiations and the opportunities they are opening up.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is currently working on a road show to do this in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch for May/June.

It is envisaged that the road show will bring businesses up to date with the negotiations, and also focus on doing business in Thailand’s fast growing market.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is also producing a new guide to doing business in Thailand; and will be promoting New Zealand goods and services to Thai companies, by, for example, bringing corporate buyers to New Zealand and running a seminar in Bangkok to focus attention on what we have to offer.

The government has asked New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to work in these kinds of ways to leverage opportunities for New Zealand off all new FTAs.

At a government-to-government level, we can open doors, but the next step is to encourage businesses to walk through them.

In this respect it is worth looking out for opportunities to join ministerial trade delegations offshore.

Jim Sutton regularly leads delegations, particularly to Asia; and other ministers have led business delegations covering education, information and communications technology, and biotechnology.

Last year a small but very enthusiastic ICT delegation came with me to India, and some have been back several times since following up the opportunities.

Keep in mind also the possibility of basing your company in one of the offshore export platforms organised under New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s beachheads programme.

There are high tech beachheads operating in Singapore, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and one starting in Dubai in June – and there is a marine export beachhead in Florida. Other possibilities are being investigated.

The aim is to support our smaller companies into key markets through what is, in effect, an offshore incubator.

It provides a fully wired office, clustering with other New Zealand companies, and assistance with finding the contacts and networks needed to grow a business.

Let me mention two other big initiatives we are taking to promote New Zealand.

The New Zealand Pavilion at the Aichi World Expo in Japan.

Japan is New Zealand’s third biggest market – and a high value and sophisticated one.

The government took a decision in 2003 to have New Zealand representation at the World Expo – because we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to profile New Zealand there.

We’ve now been joined by a “family of five” corporate sponsors which is helping us extend what we can achieve through the Expo.

There are opportunities for corporate hospitality and promotions linked to our presence at the World Expo.

Over the past five years we have looked for opportunities to brand and profile New Zealand around major events like the Lord of the Rings roll out and the America’s Cup – and we continue to look for those opportunities.

Now, for the first time ever, we have developed a cultural diplomacy programme, aiming to profile New Zealand through our arts, culture, and heritage in our major markets.

For the first three years our focus is on North Asia.

By building New Zealand’s profile as unique, creative, and innovative, we enable the world to see us, and what we have to offer, in a new light – as well as being the clean and green nation of the tourism posters, we are also a dynamic and talented modern nation from which you would expect to be able to buy sophisticated goods and services.

So, best wishes to all actual and aspiring exporters here today – and to those who advise and support them.

There are great opportunities out there for small, smart, innovative companies and countries – and I hope this conference helps you, and through you, New Zealand to make the most of them.

I’m happy now to declare this conference open.

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