'Full House' for Pacific Trade Expo

Tuesday 4 March 2008, 2:49PM
By Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban


The fact that every available stand has been filled for the Pacific Trade Expo opening at Waitakere City’s Trusts Stadium this Wednesday at 9am bodes well for the growth of intra-Pacific trade, Pacific Island Affairs and Associate Trade Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban said today.

“The inaugural Pacific Trade Expo in 2006 was a success. This year’s event is bigger and, in addition to the large commercial representation, has attracted government delegations from Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and New Caledonia," Laban said.

“New Zealand has a special relationship with the Pacific. The expo will lead to the strengthening of trade ties and increased economic growth for many of our Pacific neighbours and kin.

"We are proactively encouraging access to our markets, with workshops being held on Bio Security and Food Safety, supporting New Zealand's commitment to two-way trade."

Countries of the Pacific are collectively New Zealand’s sixth largest export destination, with the total value of sales $1.2 billion.

“Imports to New Zealand from Pacific countries are worth $160 million. The proposition is self evident – the more they can sell to us, the more we can export to them,“ Laban said.

The Pacific Trade Expo provides an excellent opportunity for New Zealand businesses to make contact with their Pacific counterparts.

“In an age when technology has tended to de-personalise communication, in Pacific cultures, face-to-face contact remains of crucial importance.

“One of New Zealand's major challenges is to get more of our small-to-medium enterprises into exporting. For many, the prospect is daunting. The markets of the Pacific region are a great place to start,” Laban said.

The expo has been organised by the New Zealand Pacific Business Council with major sponsorship from the Auckland, Waitakere and Manakau city councils, and support from the Pacific Islands Trade Commission and the ANZ bank.