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US NZ Partnership Forum opens in Washington

06 October 2009

The agenda for the third US NZ Partnership Forum focuses on the potential for expanded co-operation in the areas of trade and economic development, business innovation, climate change, energy and security, say the organizers.

The Forum opens in Washington with an evening reception on 6 October (11 am 7 October, NZ time) and concludes after lunch on 8 October (7 am NZ time).  An opening keynote address on behalf of the Obama Administration will be delivered by the Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg.  The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, and the Deputy US Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, will also address the Forum along with the New Zealand foreign and Trade Ministers Hon Murray McCully and Hon Tim Groser.

Releasing the Forum progamme and delegation lists today, the President of the US NZ Council John Mullen, said the Forum’s broad agenda reflects the depth of the relationship between the two countries:

“New Zealand is a close friend and ally of the United States.  This year’s Forum has attracted a high level American delegation.  This reflects both the standing of New Zealand in Washington right now and the interest in the Administration and in business in seeing how the relationship can be further developed to advance our mutual interests”.

The Forum will be co-chaired on the US side by former Democrat Congressman Cal Dooley and former US Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

Other prominent US delegation members include Special Assistant to the President at the National Security Council, Jeff Bader; Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Kurt Campbell; Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher; 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, Cargill, Caterpillar, Constellation Brands, Google, Kraft, Mars, Oracle, Pernod Ricard, Pfizer, Time Warner and the US Chamber of Commerce.

NZ US Council Chairman Rt Hon James Bolger, is co-chairing the Forum for New Zealand along with Rt Hon Mike Moore.

“I expect this year’s Forum to be the occasion for some open and free-flowing dialogue with an influential audience about how new value can be created from the relationship.  We have brought to Washington 55 leaders from government and business who are intent on taking this relationship to a new level”, said Mr Bolger.

Prominent attendees on the New Zealand side include Opposition Leader Hon Phill Goff; Opposition Spokesperson on Trade Hon Maryan Street; several heads of government departments and the Chairs or CEOs of some of New Zealand’s largest companies.

Andrew Ferrier, Fonterra CEO, one of the New Zealand business leaders in attendance, says, “This type of event, where we can develop a continuing dialogue amongst policy makers and businesses at the highest level, is vital for growing the relationship and building opportunities for successful business with one of New Zealand’s most important trading partners.”

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