Monday, September 10, 2007

NZ Businesses to Invade Guam

Businesses encouraged to invade Guam
By MARTIN TIFFANY - Waikato Times | Monday, 10 September 2007

Waikato businesses are being urged to take advantage of a $19 billion boom on the small Pacific island of Guam.

Gilbert Ullrich, chief executive of Ullrich Aluminum, said a number of companies, including his own and Fonterra, already did business with the US territory, but there were huge opportunities with the military build-up on the island.

The US is moving 8000 marines from the southern island of Okinawa in Japan to Guam, although construction activities related to the relocation are not expected to start for about four years because environmental studies and clearances that will have to be done first.

To accommodate the expected swell of marines and their families, Guam residents and businesses are preparing for hundreds of millions of dollars in anticipated construction activity, as well as for more jobs.

While New Zealand companies in the construction and supply field will be the first to benefit, Mr Ullrich said companies "across the board" would benefit from the expansion.

He said there were many opportunities for New Zealand exporters, especially in the perishable food business, because of our close proximity to Guam.

Mr Ullrich, who is also chairman of the New Zealand Pacific Business Council, said New Zealand businesses needed to look more at trade and business opportunities in their own backyard. The US government was encouraging New Zealand and Australia to take advantage of opportunities offered by the military buildup.

A recent trade conference in Auckland, which was a follow-up to an earlier conference sponsored by the council, was attended by US deputy assistant secretary of the interior for insular affairs David Cohen.

Mr Cohen said many New Zealand businesses had vast experience and the US was keen for assistance.

Mr Ullrich said there was huge potential for New Zealand businesses to tap into the contracts that would come out of the relocation.

Construction for the housing, training and other facilities for the 8000 marines and their 9000 relatives is expected to begin in July 2010.

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