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Speech to Yunnan Province Delegation

Speech to Yunnan Province Delegation

Address to Fresh NZ dinner for trade delegation from Yunnan Province

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Speech notes for address to Fresh NZ Dinner for Delegation from Yunnan Province. The Mission Restaurant, Taradale

On behalf of the New Zealand government I would like to welcome our guests from Yunnan Province, and to congratulate both you and Fresh NZ on the agreement signed today.

This agreement is an important new step in a partnership that was begun 15 years ago to develop the Chinese red pear as a high value export product. It brings together two regions which are ideally suited to fruit production, Yunnan and the Hawkes Bay, and two groups of researchers who are passionate about bringing new and innovative products to the world market.

Today's agreement takes that relationship into a more mature phase, and foresees increasing production and a careful marketing strategy to ensure maximum value from red pear exports. These activities will be supported by ongoing breeding programmes focusing on the four pear varieties which have been selected for commercialisation, and other similar products.

The agreement provides significant benefits to both parties and opens the way for the joint venture Fresh Yunnan Fruit and Flower Company Ltd to take on responsibility for the marketing of the entire product produced by from the orchards along with other products that are identified as having export potential from Yunnan.

Although China is our fourth largest export market and also our further largest source of imports, New Zealanders in general have difficulty appreciating the immense size of the Chinese economy, and the diversity of the Chinese people. That is not surprising, given that our entire population is more or less equal to that of the city of Kunming.

It is much easier for us to become familiar with China one region at a time, and Yunnan Province has some features that we in New Zealand can readily appreciate. You are an important fruit and horticultural region, and these industries have been very important to New Zealand in regions like the Hawkes Bay, the Bay of Plenty and Nelson.

You are seeking to develop international markets for that product, and we have long been focused on how to get best value out of providing a diverse range of markets with agricultural produce.

Yunnan is perhaps the most ethnically diverse province in China, with a significant ethnic minority population. We in New Zealand also face the challenges and reap the rewards of a diverse population where different cultures need to be respected and supported.

I suspect that feature makes us both more open to forming partnerships with people from different backgrounds. I note that, as yet, Yunnan does not have a well established wine industry, and I wonder if that could not be the focus of the next partnership between Yunnan and the Hawkes Bay.

In the meantime, I would like congratulate both parties on today's agreement and wish you great success in your joint business venture.

Thank you.

ENDS

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