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NZ-Taiwan Business Council holds inaugural conference

The New Zealand Taiwan Business Council (NZTBC) yesterday held its first joint business conference in New Zealand since it was re-launched last year.

The conference, in Wellington, was attended by a strong business delegation led by Taiwan Sugar Corp Chair Dr Chao-Yih Chen and Taiwan's Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Mei-Hua Wang.

The focus was to explore circular economy opportunities, innovation and biotechnology, as well as investment opportunities in the Wellington region.

The conference also highlighted the good working relationship in the geothermal energy sector, and the work between indigenous Taiwanese and Māori to engage in business and trade.

NZTBC Chair Charles Finny lauded the conference and the impact it is expected to have going forward.

"New Zealand and Taiwan have close linkages, both in terms of trade and culture. This conference was a testament to this and the potential to grow our already strong relationship for mutual benefit.

"What struck me was the substance there is to the relationship that wasn't there when I was the representative in Taipei.

"Having business and civic leaders from Taiwan and New Zealand in a room together allowed for the sharing of knowledge and experience, as well as discussions of how we can collaborate in the future."

Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive John Milford said he was excited about what collaboration could mean for Wellington in a time of great importance.

"We saw yesterday the advancement of Taiwan regarding their circular economy and smart city technology.

"Taiwan has a unique ability to develop goods in an efficient and reusable manner - a circular economy. As we work towards Carbon Zero 2050, Wellington can learn from Taiwan’s decades of success. Rather than having the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, we can alter the entire process for greater efficiency.

"Taiwan - with 23 million citizens - has efficient and reliable smart city networks. And yet Wellington, with merely 300,000 people, is struggling to move them around.

"The smart city thinking that drives Taiwan must be explored by leaders here at a local and central government level as we plan out our future.

"Perhaps what was most pleasing, however, was the interest the Taiwanese had in local businesses CreativeHQ, FoodHQ and Viclink. Despite Taiwan being renowned as an incubator of innovation, they can take learnings from us. This is something we must leverage and celebrate.

The next Joint Business Conference is scheduled to be held in Taipei, Taiwan, in November 2020.

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