Prime Minister to lead trade mission to Singapore and Japan

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will lead a trade mission to Singapore and Japan to support New Zealand’s economic rebuild through reconnecting with two of its closest Indo-Pacific economic and security partners.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor and 13 business leaders.

“With a strongly positioned economy and an important delegation of New Zealand companies alongside us, our message abroad will be very clear - New Zealand is open for business,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“This first trade mission is part of our wider plan to reconnect with the world following the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening partnerships between government, business and industry will help accelerate our strong economic recovery.   

“This trade delegation will include impressive representatives from New Zealand’s dairy, food and beverage, technology, tourism and renewable energy sectors, with a focus on promoting sustainability and innovation.

“I will be highlighting New Zealand’s reopening for tourism and education, as well as supporting our businesses as they rebuild and grow connections with partners and customers in these two significant markets.

"It's just over two years since COVID-19 hit New Zealand’s shores, prompting us to close the borders to protect lives and livelihoods. Now we must continue to reconnect with the world and I look forward to supporting our businesses across a range of sectors, and seeing my political counterparts in person,” Jacinda Ardern said.

In Singapore the Prime Minister will meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and make a call on President Halimah Yacob. She will also address key Singapore entrepreneurs and business leaders as part of a NZ hosted gala dinner.

The Prime Minister will also; visit one of Singapore’s major ports to discuss ways to future proof our supply chain, engage with aviation sector leaders on making aviation more sustainable, take part in a customary welcome ceremony, at the request of the Singapore government, and will attend a Kūwaha unveiling at Gardens by the Bay as a symbol of the strong cultural ties between the two countries.

In Japan, the Prime Minister will, for the first time, meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss global and regional challenges. She will also address the Japan-New Zealand Business Council, meet with high profile business and industry leader’s including in the clean energy and tech sectors.

The Prime Minister will also highlight Aotearoa New Zealand’s tourism and education sectors through events with Japanese media and education partners.

This year also marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Japan.

Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor said unlocking opportunities in key markets is an important part of New Zealand’s Trade Recovery Strategy as we reconnect with the world.

“Japan is New Zealand’s fourth largest trading partner, with our major exports including horticulture, dairy and meat. Our two-way trade totalled NZ$8.34 billion to the year ended December 2021.

“Singapore is our fifth largest with a total of NZ$6.56 billion in two-way trade over the same period. Singapore is an important market for dairy and tourism and are also a key regional hub for New Zealand exports and imports.

“We will do everything we can to support our New Zealand businesses and exporters to gain further access, and deeper connections, within these important markets,” Damien O’Connor said.  

The Prime Minister and her accompanying delegation will be travelling on a NZDF Boeing 757 and will depart New Zealand on April 18 and return on April 24.