New Zealand seeks to boost trade with Cebu

Mars W. Mosqueda Jr.
New Zealand is exploring potential investments in the sectors of food and beverage, wood processing and furniture industry, and information technology innovations

BOOSTING TRADE. New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan (left) and Hernando Banal, trade commissioner at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (right). Photo by Mars Mosqueda Jr

CEBU CITY, Philippines – New Zealand is exploring potential investments and partnerships in Cebu as part of the country’s efforts to boost trade with the province under the theme “New Zealand and Cebu: Together.” 

New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines David Strachan, who led an 11-member New Zealand Inc delegation to Cebu on Friday, October 6, said New Zealand is exploring potential investments in the sectors of food and beverage, wood processing and furniture industry, and information technology innovations.

“We continue to strengthen our ties and explore partnerships that would be beneficial for Cebu and New Zealand,” Strachan said in a media roundtable discussion Friday night.

About 80% of New Zealand exporters are small and medium enterprises who could be the right match for the Cebu entrepreneurs, he added.

Strachan and his delegation met with local officials and business leaders in Cebu to raise New Zealand’s profile and explore opportunities for collaboration.

Hernando Banal, trade commissioner at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, said that a number of New Zealand companies are investing in the Philippine business process outsourcing (BPO) sector by setting up back offices or operating shares services in the country.

Aside from investing in BPOs, New Zealand firms are also actively investing in renewable energy, with the Philippines having a big potential for geothermal technology, Banal said.

John Laxon, regional director of Education New Zealand, also revealed that Cebu is a promising education market for New Zealand, with more than 1,000 students registering for the New Zealand Education Fair in Cebu City today, October 7.

“Filipinos pursuing their education in New Zealand are learning from some of the best education institutions in the world. And they earn degrees that are internationally recognized, giving them an advantage in pursuing their career in the Philippines or elsewhere around the world,” Laxon said.

Annually, New Zealand offers 24 postgraduate scholarships for qualified Filipino students to study agriculture, renewable energy, and disaster risk management. For 2018, at least 10 of the scholars come from the Visayas and Mindanao area.

“From our 2018 intake, I am pleased to announce that ten of our incoming scholars come from Visayas and Mindanao. We continue to encourage students from here to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity,” Strachan said.

In terms of tourism, the ambassador announced that Philippine Airlines will launch a nonstop service from Manila to Auckland in December, making it the first direct flight from the Philippines to New Zealand.

“Not only have we got a non-stop flight starting in December from Manila to Auckland, we got enormous growth in trade flows both ways and our education numbers are incredibly impressive. These are real substance and real growth that I am excited about,” Strachan said. – Rappler.com