Not just learning the ropes – helping make real export deals!
As part of the Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) Internship Programme, the Auckland office welcomed two interns, one each from Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in 2014. <!--more-->
[caption id="attachment_6915" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/rsz_kenpep.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-6915" alt="PNG intern Ken Pep at the PT&I office in Auckland." src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/rsz_kenpep.jpg" width="138" height="104" /></a> PNG intern Ken Pep at the PT&I office in Auckland.[/caption]
Ken Pep, Senior Trade Marketing Officer with PNG’s Investment Promotion Authority and Hatty Kabua, Trade Facilitation Officer from the Ministry of Resource and Development spent several weeks in New Zealand working with PT&I’s Auckland team.
The PT&I Internship Programme aims to help build the capacity of Pacific trade officials in trade promotion and increase their understanding of the international market and trade facilitation processes. It’s an opportunity offered to trade promotion officials from Investment Promotion Agencies in the region to foster relationships with networks of key buyers, importers, wholesalers and distributors of Pacific Island products, while reviewing existing and potential opportunities available.
It’s also a chance to establish key constraints and impediments that may impede in achieving these opportunities. The internship also provides the opportunity to work with relevant economic development agencies and business councils in New Zealand. While the internship is to help build the trade official’s capacity, it also considers the needs of the trade and investment divisions of PT&I to achieve mutual benefits for both PT&I and the recipient country.
“Understanding a country’s export strategy is important in our work in the marketplace as it gives us a platform to work from while targeting the market opportunities and the market access processes in order to facilitate trade. For us, it’s essentially the key to helping countries enhance their competitiveness in the international market in order to maximise the development benefits for our Pacific people,” says Mona Mato, PT&I Trade Development Manager.
One of the key priorities by the Government of PNG is to grow its Small and Medium Enterprises sector (SME) to encourage business culture and drive export potential to improve competitiveness, increase value added products, diversify into new enterprises and meet market requirements for longer term sustainability. PNG nominated three priority export industries they wanted to get market insights on: Coffee, Spices (including vanilla) and Cocoa.
A key outcome of the internship programme for the IPA of PNG has been the opportunity for the intern to present his findings of the NZ market study to PNG’s private sector. This was made possible during the PT&I-led Pacific Path to Market Workshop in collaboration with the CBI Pacific-EU Food Ingredients seminar held in Lae, PNG. “Ken’s presentation formed the basis of the NZ market perspective session with a focus on coffee and cocoa. What was encouraging from this exercise is the presence of the members of the PNG Cocoa Council and the PNG Cocoa Board,” says Mona.
Ken’s internship also identified key constraints faced by PNG imports into NZ. One major hurdle is the lack of direct air links from PNG to New Zealand, particularly for premium and perishable products such as vanilla and coffee. Feedback from importers reiterated their own issues around inconsistencies of supplies and inferior products arriving at the border.
While in Auckland, Ken developed strong export leads for PNG coffee from a New Zealand importer as well as a couple of leads for vanilla and cocoa beans. <i> </i>
In November 2014, we welcomed Hatty Kabua from the Ministry of Resources and Development of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The internship responds to the RMI Government’s recent endorsement of its Trade Policy Framework with a focus on RMI’s new “Be Marshallese Buy Marshallese” national campaign.
Hatty’s time in Auckland was an opportunity to determine export opportunities in the marketplace that led to the development of a national export strategy following its national brand campaign. RMI has identified a number of niche products with export potential and the internship is to determine some of market opportunities and market entry procedures to ascertain the viability of RMI products.
The internship has already provided a roadmap to key outcomes. One is her work with brand and marketing designs that has given her the technical capability to create the RMI “Be Marshallese Buy Marshallese” marketing material that not just focuses on a local campaign but with a view to an export strategy.
Hatty also met with a Pacific fashion house in NZ who has expressed interest to buy RMI handicrafts specifically coconut frond baskets and fans.