OECD small business conference

Police and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash departs today for the United States and Mexico to discuss mutual cooperation on law enforcement and economic issues.

In Los Angeles and Mexico City he will meet federal and state officials to discuss liaison arrangements for criminal investigations, efforts to combat organised crime, and cooperation in other areas such as border protection and counter-terrorism.

In Mexico City he will chair a session at an OECD conference and participate in other discussions on strengthening frameworks for small businesses. He will host a meeting of New Zealand business owners in the city to discuss opportunities and challenges in the Latin American market. He will also hold bilateral meetings with his ministerial counterparts from Argentina and Mexico.

Mr Nash says the OECD Conference on Strengthening Small and Medium Enterprises is a chance to discuss international policies to maximise the contribution of SMEs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy,” says Mr Nash. “This particular conference is a chance to explore new and innovative ideas with my counterparts overseas.  

“I am interested in discussing how other countries support small businesses in the regions to gain access to overseas markets.  The Government has made a commitment to New Zealand’s provinces.  We want to help small businesses thrive in order to grow local economies and provide jobs for local people.

“The Conference is a valuable way to learn from the successes and failures of our OECD partners, and to ensure we have effective policies for small businesses in New Zealand,” says Mr Nash.


The conference is organised by the OECD Working Party on SMEs. It will be part of the OECD Bologna Process on SME and Entrepreneurship Policies and builds on the Bologna SME Ministerial Conference in 2000 and the Istanbul SME Ministerial Conference in 2004. The Bologna Charter provides a frame of reference for the design of SME policies that contribute to economic growth and social development. There are more than 80 economies around the world at various levels of development involved in the Bologna Process.

There are 34 OECD member countries who meet in specialised committees to advance ideas and review progress in specific policy areas, such as economics, trade, science, employment, education or financial markets.  There are about 250 committees, working groups and expert groups.  New Zealand has belonged to the OECD since 1973.

New Zealand exported $474 million of goods and services to Mexico in 2017, mostly milk powder and butter. Tourism is also considered a growth area. Mexico is a valued partner for New Zealand in Latin America and a like-minded member of the UN.