Hawaii good testing ground for export to US
Hawaii could be a great test market for New Zealand and Pacific exporters wanting to export merchandise to the bigger markets in the United States, says tax specialist Thomas Carden of US Global Tax.<!--more-->
[caption id="attachment_7172" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/rsz_Hawaii-1.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-7172" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/rsz_Hawaii-1.jpg" alt="Speaker Thomas Carden (third from left) with attendees. " width="138" height="104" /></a> Speaker Thomas Carden (third from left) with attendees.[/caption]
Mr Carden and Zach Norris of Norris Legal made presentations at a joint New Zealand Pacific Business Council and American Chamber of Commerce Hawaii After-5 Event held at the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise/Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade offices in Auckland last week. Proceeds raised from the evening would go towards the relief efforts in Vanuatu following the devastation of Cyclone Pam.
NZTE’s Graeme Solloway and AMCHAM’s Mike Hearn welcomed the guest speakers and presented an overview of the Hawaiian business economy. The guest speakers then enlightened the audience with concise and informative presentations.
New Zealand exports some US$30 million to Hawaii whilst importing around US$60 million from the US/Hawaii. The Hawaiian economy relies heavily on tourism and imported goods of food and beverages. Although there are great opportunities for Hawaii as a gateway to the lucrative US market there were pitfalls that Kiwi entrepreneurs could fall into if they were not well prepared.
Mr Norris said it was important to understand the legal frameworks existed at two levels of Federal and State and each of the different states had different legal systems. He elaborated on the 4 biggest mistakes Kiwis made when taking on the US market – incorporating businesses in the wrong state and not understanding that NZ laws do not apply in America.
Not obtaining the correct visas for yourself and staff beforehand, or properly understanding the differences with US employment laws and contractual agreements and the importance of indigenous rights in relation to land and property investment were also explained.
In his presentation, Mr Carden reiterated the importance of seeking advice before embarking on business in Hawaii. It is important to prepare thoroughly before entering the Hawaii/US market and see a law consultant and a tax specialist first.
“Planning is necessary for any state,” he said. With no local competition there were many opportunities for businesses in food and beverages, wine, energy and aquaculture, pharmacology, banking and tourism to New Zealand for example. But he added Hawaii was also a tough market with lots of taxes and tariffs, consumption taxes, relationship based, transport challenged and a unionized labour force.
There were a myriad laws surrounding US intellectual property both foreign and local and the territories of the US such as Guam and American Samoa also had their own non-state rules. The US was by nature very litigious and getting the right advice beforehand was an ‘ounce of prevention’. Finally on a brighter note Mr Carden added that Hawaii could be a successful test-market and a gateway to further opportunities in the USA. For more information please contact: PT&I Trade Commissioner Mike Greenslade – +64-9-5295165 or email