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Uruguay President on first visit to New Zealand

5 November 2007 Media Statement

Uruguay President on first visit to New Zealand

Uruguay President Dr Tabaré Vázquez will visit New Zealand from 11-14 November, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.

The President will be accompanied by four cabinet ministers and a business delegation.

“This is the first bilateral visit by a Uruguayan President. In Uruguay, the President is an executive president.

“I am delighted that President Vazquez is visiting New Zealand. This visit reciprocates the visit I made to Uruguay with a trade delegation six years ago.

“This visit reflects both the positive nature of the New Zealand – Uruguay relationship, and its healthy expansion in recent years. We are long standing partners in the Cairns Group which works within the World Trade Organisation for fairer rules for agricultural trade.

“The recent Export Year Food Value Chain mission to Uruguay pointed up the opportunities for collaboration in the agricultural and food-related industries to our mutual economic advantage. There is already significant New Zealand investment in Uruguay’s dairy industry.

“On this visit, the focus will be on stepping up economic co-operation, developing research, education, and people-to-people links and initiating regular foreign policy consultations at a senior level,” Helen Clark said.

“New Zealand and Uruguay have an easy affinity based on a similarity of geographical and population size, and our status as significant exporters of agricultural products. It makes sense for us to develop partnerships through investment, in marketing, and joint research activities.

“People to people links are also expanding. The current working holiday scheme provides for one hundred Uruguayans to come to New Zealand each year, and is fully subscribed,” Helen Clark said.

In addition to meeting with the Prime Minister and Cabinet, President Vázquez will be formally welcomed to New Zealand by the Governor-General, address a business breakfast, and visit Lincoln University.

ENDS

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