Trade Minister to lead first virtual trade mission to Japan

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor will lead an innovative ‘virtual’ trade mission to Japan this week to promote New Zealand’s valued relationship with one of its largest trading partners.

He will be joined on Friday 4 June by business leaders from New Zealand’s premium food and beverage, health technology, consumer tech, and renewable energy sectors.

“Japan is one of New Zealand’s largest trading partners and one of its longest standing international friends. The decision to do this virtually in COVID times reflects how significantly the New Zealand Government regards this relationship,” Damien O’Connor said.

“This mission supports the Government’s efforts to strengthen key relationships and seize new opportunities for trade and investment under our Trade Recovery Strategy.

“Having Japan as a key economic partner supports the diversification of New Zealand’s trade and foreign direct investment profile. In doing so it strengthens our long-term economic resilience.

“COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the way we work, particularly for our exporters who are used to travelling to international markets to meet face-to-face.  A virtual trade mission provides an opportunity to come together to share insights, nurture relationships and build stronger partnerships.

“Our delegates reflect the range and ingenuity of New Zealand enterprise, and the high level of collaboration between our two countries.”

The Virtual Trade Mission to Japan is part of a series of high-level engagements including recent online meetings between Damien O’Connor and his Japanese counterpart Minister Kajiyama Hiroshi on 24 May, and with Japan’s CPTPP Minister Nishimura on 19 May

Damien O’Connor also spoke to the Nikkei “Future of Asia” Conference on 21 May about a regional economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Our trade relationship has already benefitted through increased market access coming from the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreements.

“Further cooperation within these frameworks will allow our companies to be even more competitive and form beneficial long-term partnerships,” Damien O’Connor said.

Delegates from both countries will explore opportunities to work more closely with each other through targeted discussions, market intelligence updates and key note addresses.