The Republic of Vanuatu’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism Bob Loughman was recently in Auckland with his official entourage.

Manuel Valdez with Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Bob Loughman.

Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand Chief Investment Officer Manuel Valdez met Deputy Prime Minister Loughman and his team at the Consulate of Vanuatu in Auckland.

“It was a high-powered delegation,” Mr Valdez said. “It comprised the First Polical Advisor Johnson Simil; Vanuatu High Commisioner in Wellington, Johnson Naviti Marakipule; the CEO of Airports Vanuatu Limited, CEO of Airvanuatu Dereck Nice, CEO of Vanuatu Tourism office Adela Issachar Aru and Consul General of Vanuatu in Auckland Mckenzie Kalotiti.”

Mr. Valdez outlined PTI NZ’s long relationship with Vanuatu over several years detailing the work done in trade and investment promotion through the PTI NZ Path to Market programme, trade missions, helping Vanuatu companies showcase their products in international trade shows and on the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme. “Basically, we detailed on PTI’s role in the Pacific Islands and its mandate to connect Pacific people in terms of trade and investment,” Mr Valdez told Pacific Periscope.

On the investment side, Mr. Valdez explained that PTI has had a long and established relationship with Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) and has helped with several projects in the past years. He highlighted the first-ever joint venture business with a New Zealand company from Blenheim and a former RSE worker to produce and export virgin coconut oil (VCO) and coffee and peanut plantation and other annual crops in Tanna Island.

He emphasised that PTI NZ was involved in helping RSE workers to upskill themselves on how to use their hard-earned money to productive use once they were back in their home country. He also gave examples of the success stories of Pacific RSE workers who invested in productive businesses in their home countries.

For instance, Epi Island which was considered a “ghost” town was transformed into a bustling environment when the RSE workers invested their money to agriculture production, fishing businesses and trading in the small villages around the island.

Deputy Prime Minister Loughman appreciated PTI NZ’s longtime relationship with VIPA to promote investment opportunities in Vanuatu. And especially of his past activities with the RSE workers who are remitting more foreign earnings to their respective communities and villages and the good for the economy as a whole.

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