NZ happy with Guam business conference
By Gerardo R. Partido
Variety News Staff
October 24, 2007
New Zealand has benefited greatly from the recently concluded business conference held on Guam, according to a dispatch from NZ minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, who led the NZ delegation.
Twenty-one New Zealand companies have opened up doors for new business opportunities in Guam after the successful trade mission, said Laban who serves as her country’s Associate Economic Development and Pacific Island Affairs Minister.
“The focus of the trade mission was for our companies to explore new opportunities in the construction, building materials, machinery supplies and consultancy sectors in the Pacific,” Laban said in a news release.
She added that New Zealand made a positive impression and the delegation received detailed briefings of new commercial opportunities expected to be created when around 25,000 United States military staff and dependents move from Okinawa to Guam.
“The expansion of naval and air force facilities on the island over the next decade is expected to have a budget of between $14 and $18 billion. This presents some significant opportunities for New Zealand firms in the future,” Laban said.
During the Guam conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the New Zealand delegation was also able to learn first hand of the potential opportunities from ongoing infrastructure development in Micronesia and the American Pacific.
“One firm signed a deal for new business during the mission, while several more are now actively pursuing specific opportunities created by the visit,” Laban disclosed.
After a meeting with the U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Cohen, the governors of Guam, Micronesia and American Samoa all expressed strong interest in coming to the New Zealand Pacific Business Council’s Pacific Trade Expo to be held in Auckland next year.
“They will bring business delegations with them to explore business opportunities with New Zealand. I am pleased that this trade mission has resulted in two-way trade opportunities with New Zealand for Guam and Micronesia,” said Laban.
The New Zealand delegation attended the U.S. Department of the Interior’s annual Island Business Opportunities Conference held at the Hyatt Regency in Guam, where leaders of island nations with formal ties with the U.S. presented upcoming business opportunities in the region.
Laban, who was one of the speakers during the conference, stressed the importance of the Pacific region working together to enhance economic sustainability and two-way trade deals that bring mutual benefits to all parties.
“The Pacific region has close cultural and familial ties. New Zealand is seen as part of the wider Pacific family and region. This successful trade mission was a part of the ongoing private and public sector initiatives occurring through the Labor-led government’s Export Year 2007,” Laban said.
She added that the New Zealand government is committed to support its exporters grow and be successful through initiatives like trade missions.
“This support is important if we are to transform New Zealand into a high-wage, innovative and export-led economy,” said Laban.
The trade mission was organized by the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the NZPBC.
Gilbert Ullrich, president of the NZPBC, said there’s huge potential for New Zealand businesses to tap into the contracts that will come out of the relocation of U.S. troops to Guam in the near future.
“The increased dialogue and expansion of business between our country and the Pacific area can only lead to greater opportunities into the U.S.,” Ullrich said.
New Zealand companies in the construction and supply fields are especially interested in the military buildup on Guam.
There are also many opportunities for New Zealand exporters, especially in the perishable food business, because of New Zealand’s proximity to Guam.