Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand’s Acting Trade & Investment Commissioner Manuel Valdez has urged Indonesian and Pacific businesses to work together toward on investment projects in the Pacific Islands region.
Mr Valdez was addressing a large audience of visiting businesspeople and investors from Indonesia and all around the Pacific Islands at the Indonesian government-hosted four-day Pacific Exposition in Auckland last week. The theme of the event was ‘Fostering Trade and Investment Partnerships in the Pacific Region through Better Connectivity, Market Integration and Infrastructure Development’.
Speaking on a panel on ‘Boosting Trade and Investment through Empowering and Globalising Small and Medium Enterprises in the South Pacific Region,’ on day two of the event, Acting Trade & Investment Commissioner Valdez introduced the work of the Pacific Trade Invest network around the region on trade and investment promotion and how it positively impacts empowerment of small and medium entrepreneurs in the Pacific island region.
By way of illustration he spoke of the joint venture between a former seasonal farm worker and his employee in Vanuatu that has now resulted in a virgin coconut oil production operation that exports to several countries. The industry has benefited over 200 members of a community on the country’s Tanna Island.
Mr Valdez invited Indonesian businesspeople to visit PTI NZ’s Pacific Hub website to view more than 180 projects that were available for investments and joint ventures in a variety of sectors – from hospitality and tourism to manufacturing and agribusiness.
Mr Valdez also outlined the Path to Market programme that has now benefited hundreds of Pacific Island enterprises and entrepreneurs in terms of export readiness and capacity building over the past few years.
Speaking to Pacific Periscope, Acting Trade & Investment Commissioner Valdez said, “The First Pacific Exposition 2019 which was organised by the Indonesian Embassy was a very successful event. On behalf of PTI NZ and our Pacific Island stakeholders I met several key businesspeople who would like to do business in the Pacific Islands.
“The Head of the Permanent Committee for Asia Pacific of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bernardino Vega, said he would like to work on a joint project with PTI NZ on inward investment into the Pacific Islands next year.”
The expo also hosted a trade area that saw booths from several Pacific Island nations and organisations including PTI NZ, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti. Several Indonesian organisations – both government and private sector – also participated.
“It was well organised and made several new connections,” PTI Interning Trade Development Officer Riley Birtwistle, who was at the PTI NZ booth, said. “We had a glimpse of what future Indonesian-Pacific connections might look like. It has clearly opened the doorway between the region’s business and Indonesia.”
Several Pacific Island government ministers visited and spoke at the event. Among these were Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, Solomon Islands’ Minister of Tourism & Culture Bartholomew Parapolo, Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Rimbink Pato, Kiribati’s Minister of Commerce, Industry & Co-operatives Atarake Nataara, among others.
Speaking to Pacific Periscope, Minister Bartholomew Parapolo of Solomon Islands said the country already had a mission in Jakarta and was working toward greater tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries. “There are many common elements between the two countries and they need to be explored to increase tourism and exports, particularly of handicrafts,” he said.
Earlier in the run-up to the event, the Embassy of Indonesia in New Zealand had participated in PTI NZ’s Path to Market event at The Cloud in Auckland in April this year. H.E. Tantowi Yahya, Ambassador of Indonesia to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga and First Secretary Panca Hendarto were present at The Cloud and interacted with visitors and PTI NZ staff, answering questions about the event.
“This first Pacific Exposition is the first step towards connecting goods and people of the Pacific and Southeast Asia. The idea is to also explore trade and investment opportunities in the Pacific and to provide a platform that facilitates business meetings between Indonesia and the Pacific business communities,” The Embassy’s First Secretary Panca Hendarto said.
For more information email PTI NZ Trade Development Manager Ian Furlong at firstname.lastname@example.org