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Breakfast with Heads of Mission

Fri, May. 27, 2016 7:30am
Kensington Swan, 18 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland

To cap off a rich period of outreach to members, the Council organised a breakfast event on 27 May with New Zealand's ambassadors to Latin America. Hosted in style by Kensington Swan in their Auckland premises, the event attracted almost 50 current, past and potential members, all of whom were treated to relevant and concise market information from the three speakers present.

After welcomes from Matthew and Kensington Swan's Hayden Wilson, Her Excellency Clare Kelly, our Ambassador to Mexico and many of its Central American and Caribbean neighbours, began the presentations by reminding attendees to look north as well as south when doing business with Latin America. As she noted, Mexico is one of the world's great manufacturing nations, it has been looking outward and fully integrated into the US and Canadian economies since NAFTA was signed in the 1990s, and it has signed up to the TPP. While individual New Zealand companies including LANZBC members are already doing well there, and others are looking seriously at the market, there are still unexplored opportunities in sectors she identified (which can be made known to members).

Her Excellency Jacqui Caine, our ambassador to Chile, Peru, Colombia and other Andean nations then commented on the political contexts and business opportunities in her three main countries of focus. Given that Peru is hosting APEC this year, and therefore will be visited by many New Zealand officials and business leaders -- and given too that it has also joined the TPP and that New Zealand will be opening a new Embassy in Colombia next year -- her insights were timely for everyone present. At the same time, she reiterated the reasons for engaging with Chile as well, notably its double taxation agreement and the fact New Zealand already has a free trade agreement with it (the P4) ad we wait for the TPP to comesinto force.

From across the Andes, similarly, our Ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, Her Excellency Raylene Liufalani, also saw significant opportunities for New Zealand businesses. Like Gustavo Richardson, she noted that President Macri has achieved a lot in a shot time and is popular despite the impact his reforms are having in areas such as electricity prices. At the same time, she counselled her listeners to be realistic about the bureaucratic environment they would face there, and urged them to find very good local partners.

After all three presentations, a series of questions were put to the appropriate Ambassador on a range of subjects, including the prospects for New Zealand joining the Pacific Alliance, the potential for greater trade with Central America and the Caribbean, local discourses around TPP, the impact of Brazil's difficulties, and the attraction of Peruvian and Argentine students.

All who attended the breakfast found it thoroughly enjoyable. From the LANZBC's perspective, too, it was great to see a mix of new faces and returning friends. We thank MFAT for offering their ambassadors to speak to us and Kensington Swan for the use of their venue.

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