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'Like-minded' SA holds great potential for New Zealand investors - official

Oct 03 2018 17:11
Carin Smith

SA holds great strategic potential for New Zealand, said the country's Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs Fletcher Tabuteau, as he led a delegation of current and potential investors to SA this week.

Relationships between "like-minded" countries are very important right now, Tabuteau added.

Tabuteau is leading a senior-level business delegation from NZ to SA for the first time this week, and views the visit as an opportunity to "reinvigorate the relationship between SA and New Zealand".

"In NZ we are very conscious of trade to-ing and fro-ing among some countries, but it has not hit us directly yet.

"It is more that we must just be aware of it," explained Tabuteau.

Fundamental similarities

SA's strategic importance to NZ lies in many fundamental similarities between the two countries in terms of trade, he said.

In his view, the SA market presents significant potential for NZ businesses. SA is, in fact, New Zealand's most diverse trading partner on the African continent.

Accompanying Tabuteau to SA are businesses that have already invested in SA and are looking to expand their investments, as well as companies considering entering the SA market.

These include power company Enatel; dairy firm Fonterra; construction company Framecad; security system firm Gallagher Group; meat snack producer Jack Links; software company Seequent; and kiwifruit marketer Zespri International.

'Significant potential' 

"The SA market presents significant potential for NZ businesses. Our government supports NZ exporters to showcase their products and services to the world," said Tabuteau.

In Tabuteau’s view, sectors with the most potential for the NZ delegation include agriculture, ICT, and food and beverages.

"Our companies are specialised and can adapt quickly," he said.

Asked whether NZ also faces climate challenges, Tabuteau said the country was not facing immediate obstacles like the water crisis in Cape Town, but was not ignoring climate change.

"For us it is more about managing changes. We anticipate stronger weather events, like storm winds, different rainfall, but our businesses have been quite clever and forward thinking about climate changes - an approach we as a government support," he explained.

Multilateral agreements 'fundamental'

NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern views the maintenance of multilateral agreements as "fundamental", Tabuteau noted.

"It is very important for our prime minister that, when we talk to the rest of the world, we are talking about the maintenance of multilateral agreements.

"This is so that we know what platform and what ground we are playing the game on. That is fundamental for us as a government," he said.

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