NEW ZEALAND MINISTERIAL VISIT TO POLYNESIA

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SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM SECRETARIAT Suva, Fiji Islands

PRESS STATEMENT August 23, 1999

The following is a statement from the South Pacific Trade Commission in Auckland. The Forum Secretariat runs three trade offices: in Auckland, New Zealand; Sydney, Australia and Tokyo, Japan. For further information, please contact the Trade Commissioner, SPTC, Auckland, New Zealand. Tel: (649) 302 0465; Fax: (649) 377 6642; E-mail: info@sptc.or.nz

The South Pacific Trade Commission (SPTC) in Auckland aims to intensify its efforts to assist the private sector in light of economic reforms being undertaken and/or contemplated in various Forum Island Countries (FICs).

These are the comments of Mr. Parmesh Chand, the Trade Commissioner, following his return from a visit to Polynesia, August 9-19, 1999. Mr. Chand was part of a delegation led by the Rt. Hon. Don McKinnon, New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and it comprised Members of Parliament, Government Officials, Non-Governmental Organizations, Media and Students. The delegation visited the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.

Mr. Chand said that these visits are remarkably important and useful to the work activities of the SPTC. This is particularly so now given that a number of FICs are implementing a comprehensive range of economic reforms to bring about efficiency and competitiveness in key sectors of their respective economies.

The underlying theme in these reforms is downsizing of the public sector, consequently making more opportunities available for injection of private capital, know-how and management. Accordingly, SPTC sees new opportunities for providing assistance in such instances. These are largely in export marketing and facilitation of joint ventures.

The areas which SPTC has specifically identified for further assistance from this visit are export marketing of tropical fresh produce, honey, garments and boutique handcrafts. In the area of investment, Mr. Chand says there are a number of opportunities for involvement from New Zealand companies in fishing, horticulture and tourism, particularly hotel accommodation and related facilities. These will all be vigorously followed up by the SPTC and appropriate assistance provided, says Mr. Chand.

The visit is organized annually by the NZ Government to enable authorities having an impact on and/or involved in development activities in the Pacific Island Countries to see first hand and obtain relevant information on the status of projects assisted and the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) program of NZ. It also enables them to identify and discuss new areas of mutual interest and collaboration. Last year the delegation visited countries in the Melanesian and Micronesian sub-region, including Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and Fiji.

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