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Forum Brings Asia Experts To Auckland

MEDIA RELEASE Sunday 26 August 2001

FORUM BRINGS ASIA EXPERTS TO AUCKLAND

A former prime minister of Korea, and the World Trade Organisation's next leader, H.E. Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi, will be among international guests at the Asia 2000 Foundation's Asia Forum in Auckland next month.

The Forum will bring together business and government leaders to look at where Asia stands today, emerging trends and the implications for New Zealand and is sponsored by Minter Ellison, Rudd Watts & Stone and Qantas.

Key international participants will include Lee Hong Koo, former Prime Minister of South Korea; Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman and President of Wah Chang International/Thai Wah Group of companies, and former Economics Editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review; Pote Videt, Managing Director of Credit Suisse First Boston (Singapore); Alan Carroll, Executive Chairman of Pacific Rim Forum; and New Zealander John Macfarlane, Head of Deutsche Bank Japan.

Prime Minister Helen Clark will attend and chair a session on corporate strategies for dealing with emerging trends in the region. Following the day's discussion, there will be a dinner, which the Prime Minister will co-host, for around 300 invited guests at which Dr Supachai, also an Honorary Advisor to Asia 2000, will be keynote speaker.

"Asia has never been more important to New Zealand than it is today," says Foundation Executive Director Tim Groser. "Exports to our top 10 Asian markets are worth well over twice as much as total exports to the whole of Europe, including the United Kingdom, 40% more than to Australia and 60% more than to the United States.

"But trade is not the only driver of our links with Asia. In coming to terms with our geopolitical position, New Zealand needs strategies to ensure we have the skills, experience and personal networks to interact successfully with the countries of the region. This meeting is an opportunity for business and government leaders to look at where Asia stands today and to factor that into their own medium-term strategies."

This is the third time Asia 2000 has hosted such a meeting. Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew attended the 1999 Asia Forum, while the Foundation co-hosted a similar review, the Williamsburg Conference, with the Asia Society in 1998.

The Asia 2000 Foundation is a non-profit organisation working to build New Zealand's links with Asia through business, culture, education and media programmes. Minter Ellison and Rudd Watts & Stone form one of the largest law firms in the Asia Pacific region with representation in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the People's Republic of China, Indonesia, Thailand, London and New York. Qantas is pleased to be a major supporter of the Forum, says Regional General Manager for New Zealand & Pacific Islands, Peter Collins. " We play a leading role in linking New Zealand with the major economies of the Asian region. Air transport is one of the most significant linkages and our support for the forum is a further indication of our commitment to New Zealand."

For more information: Tanya St George, Asia 2000 Foundation of NZ Public Affairs Manager (04) 470 8706 or 025 247 9905.


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