Japan NZ partnership forum to reconvene in 2009

by | Oct 6, 2008 | Media Releases

A second Japan NZ Partnership Forum, involving senior leaders from government, business and the wider community from both countries, will be held in Tokyo in 2009.

NZ International Business Forum Chairman Graeme Harrison told delegates at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Japan NZ Business Council in Nelson today that the Partnership Forum was a concept whose time had come.

“The feedback we have received from the Japanese side was most complimentary about the first Forum we held in May 2008 and, more importantly, about the wider initiative to build the economic relationship”.

Mr Harrison said the first Forum had exceeded expectations by attracting over 90 senior participants and providing a platform for the announcement of a joint study into a future free trade agreement.

“The Forum was designed to bring together a new constituency for the relationship in Japan, to demonstrate the value of New Zealand to Japanese interests and to focus high level attention on the significance of the relationship for each country’s future”.

Mr Harrison said the first Forum had been “electrified” by the Prime Minister’s announcement that New Zealand and Japan would co-operate on a joint study into a future free trade agreement (or Economic Partnership Agreement in Japanese terminology).

“The study provides a good focus for our efforts as we move forward and some reassurance that New Zealand’s interests are not being overlooked even as Japan negotiates an EPA with Australia.

“The key question at this point is what we can do to support the process ?what is required is nothing less than an ongoing, concerted and well co-ordinated strategy.

“Such a strategy would remind officials of the fundamental interest that business in both countries has in this process and would find ways to demonstrate that interest to governments and other interested and influential groups”.

Mr Harrison said that NZIBF was currently examining a number of options for timing for the second Partnership Forum.

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