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New Zealand's growing relationship with Chile

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

21 November 2006 Media Statement

New Zealand's growing relationship with Chile


Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that a new agreement on business links and a new initiative on science co-operation are being signed during the visit of the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet.

As well, the New Zealand Government is announcing an extension of its Working Holiday Scheme for Chile.

Helen Clark said that New Zealand and Chile enjoy a warm relationship which is growing in significance.

"The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (P4) between New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei, was able to enter into force for Chile earlier this month. It has been the catalyst for increased contact with Chile in many fields.

"Today, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and its counterpart, the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO) will sign a “Strategic Alliance” Arrangement between the two agencies.

"The alliance's objectives include promoting the involvement of a significant number of New Zealand businesses in Chile through investment, joint ventures, and licensing agreements by 2010, and using NZTE and CORFO programmes and funds to facilitate bilateral commercial partnerships.

"Also today, the New Zealand Crown Research Institute, Industrial Research Ltd, and Chile's National Commission for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICYT), will sign a document during President Bachelet's visit to IRL signalling their intent to organise a science and business colloquium.

"The colloquium will identify and develop proposals for specific research projects and commercialisation opportunities. This initiative is being pursued under the Arrangement on Scientific, Research, and Technological Co-operation signed in 2002 between our Ministry of Research, Science, and Technology and CONICYT."

Helen Clark said that New Zealand places great value on its Working Holiday Scheme with Chile, and it has proved immensely popular with young Chileans.

"As fast as we have opened up places, they have been quickly filled. The original allocation of 200 places in New Zealand in 2001 was increased to 400 in 2004, and 500 this year. When applications were opened on 1 October for the coming year, all 500 were snapped up in the first three weeks.

"Today I am announcing that New Zealand is increasing the number of places again to a total of 1000 each year for Chile to help meet this demand.

Helen Clark said the two countries are also strengthening links in the education sector.

"The Ministry of Education has already funded experts to travel to Chile in 2005 to present at an English as second language conference and in 2006 to an early childhood education conference. Another New Zealand speaker will attend a conference in Santiago on how to institutionalise accountability and quality assurance mechanisms in education.

"In addition, a Chilean Education Ministry delegation is expected to visit New Zealand next March.

"Next year, a New Zealand Education Counsellor will be appointed to our embassy in Santiago to foster tertiary education links and identify education related policies, programmes, and commercial opportunities where New Zealand can interact with Chile.

"I am also delighted that Chile intends to accept New Zealanders as part of its English language volunteers’ programme. This is an initiative based on a pilot volunteers’ programme which saw US students paid a living costs stipend in return for assisting with English language activities in public schools," Helen Clark said.


ENDS

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