The emerging economic recovery in both countries, and the strongest relationship in 25 years, provides a solid base for closer economic alignment between New Zealand and the United States, senior business leaders were told today at a briefing ahead of the third US NZ Partnership Forum.
The Forum will take place in Washington DC 6 – 8 October. It will bring together more than 100 influential leaders from both countries, to discuss how to enhance the economic relationship.
“New Zealand can’t afford to ease up on this kind of active development of our ties with the United States,” NZ US Council Executive Director Stephen Jacobi said.
“Right now, both economies are showing signs of recovery. The Prime Minister’s visit to New York last week is further demonstration of how close we are. We have to keep this momentum going.”
The United States is New Zealand’s second largest export destination and third largest source of imports. However, despite the great progress made in the relationship in recent years, the value of trade between the two countries has grown more slowly than with the rest of the world.
“That’s effectively a declining market share,” Mr Jacobi said. “This makes events like the Partnership Forum which runs alongside more formal diplomatic channels, incredibly important.”
Organised by the NZ US Council and its Washington-based counterpart the US NZ Council, the Forum aims to build on the success of the inaugural Partnership Forum held in Washington DC in April 2006 and the second Forum held in Auckland in September 2007.
“Under the theme of “Trans Pacific Partnership: Deepening Engagement, Expanding Opportunities”, this year’s Forum will focus on ways in which the United States and New Zealand can increase cooperation on trade and investment, economic development, business innovation, climate change and energy in the Asia Pacific region as well as globally,” said Mr Jacobi.
“For the first time the Forum will include a dedicated session on security challenges and cooperation between the two countries.”
The Forum will be co-chaired on the New Zealand side by Rt Hon Jim Bolger and Rt Hon Mike Moore. On the US side the co-chairs are former Democrat Congressman Cal Dooley and former US Trade Representative Susan Schwab.
The New Zealand delegation to the Forum includes well known business leaders including Wayne Boyd (Telecom), Andrew Ferrier (Fonterra), Theresa Gattung (Wool Partners International), Tony Gibbs (Turners and Growers), Graeme Harrison (Anzco Foods), Craig Norgate (Rural Portfolio Investments), John Loughlin (Zespri), John Palmer (Air New Zealand), Wendy Pye (Sunshine Reading Systems) and Sir Stephen Tindall (The Warehouse). The heads of five government departments and agencies (Customs, Defence, NZ Defence Force, MFAT and NZTE) are also attending.
Americans attending the Forum include US Chamber of Commerce President, Tom Donohue; former US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage; President of the American Motion Picture Association, Dan Glickman; President of the American Council on Renewable Energy, Mike Eckhart; and senior representatives of a number of corporates including Boeing, Caterpillar, Constellation Brands, Google, Mars, Oracle, Pernod Ricard, Pfizer and Time Warner.
Senior government leaders on both sides are also expected to participate in the Forum.