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Hon. Steven Joyce: Growing linkages with LatAm in trade, education & innovation

Fri, Jun. 19, 2015 12:00pm — 1:00pm
Victoria University, Level 4, 50 Kitchener Street, Auckland

Minister Stephen Joyce, whose portfolios include Economic Development, Science and Innovation, and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, spoke at an event in Victoria University’s new Auckland offices hosted by LANZBC and the Victoria Institute for Links with Latin America (VILLA).

The Minister spoke to a lunchtime audience of 40 businesses and educational institutions about the opportunities for New Zealand trade he saw during his April mission to Chile, Colombia and Brazil.

After welcomes from LANZBC President Matthew O’Meagher and VILLA Chair Roberto Rabel, and an acknowledgement that Victoria’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford had been part of his mission, the Minister told the audience he had gone to these countries for four reasons: to strengthen bilateral relations, to promote New Zealand as an education destination, to support New Zealand companies already operating there, and to pave the way for other innovative companies to enter those markets.

Having wanted to see if Latin America should be higher on New Zealanders’ radars, the Minister was excited by what he found. Within the ‘concentric circle’ of one long haul flight from Auckland, serviced by improving air links, and with a projected 600 million consumers by 2030, South America offers potential in agribusiness, food and beverage, forestry, ICT, mining, manufacturing, and education.

 Chile and Colombia are very interested in New Zealand’s innovation model; there are New Zealand companies already succeeding in Chile and Brazil; and in the interior of the latter country there was strong political interest in agritech engagement from the large state of Mato Grosso.

Before taking questions on scholarships, language promotion, aid projects, and Brazil’s regulatory complexities, the Minister also commented on New Zealand’s quality as an English language destination and the presence of its companies at trade fairs while he was there.

He noted the pioneering work of firms like Fonterra’s Soprole, the calibre of NZTE’s Beachhead advisors in Santiago and Sao Paulo, and the boost to business a successful TPPA and membership of the Pacific Alliance would provide.

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