New Zealand Embassy Brasilia, Brazil
New Zealand Prime Minister John Key visit to Brazil, March 2013
Prime Minister John Key led a delegation to Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil from 3-12 March. The delegation included Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and 23 business representatives from New Zealand businesses with interests in Latin America, including large players such as Zespri, Fonterra, Air New Zealand, niche agribusiness companies, and representatives from the education and technology sectors.
Latin America is one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic regions in the world, and the visit demonstrated that Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Brazil are countries where New Zealand’s skills and expertise are a natural fit.
While Latin America will continue to offer opportunities for sales of certain New Zealand commodities, the big opportunity for New Zealand is investment in the agriculture sector and in high-end technology manufacturing and services.
The signing of agreements Brazil and Chile will facilitate increasing links for New Zealand in the region. There is scope for New Zealand to provide a variety of education services to Latin America, including vocational training, exporting the New Zealand ITO training model, English language training and professional development for teachers and trainers, especially in Brazil as it gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.
The visit also successfully opened doors for the accompanying business delegation and has already delivered tangible outcomes. Business representatives met with industry counterparts in each country – resulting in 49 business leads, and the establishment of a number of new contacts and relationships which will provide the foundation for future business partnerships.
Finally, one major take-away from the visit was the extent to which the indigenous links between New Zealand and Latin America offer fertile ground. We have thus far underestimated the interest that Latin American countries have in the New Zealand Māori example of engagement with government and strategies for economic development, including participation in international business and trade.
We return from the region with a strong collective sense of the opportunity that is already evident, and that will grow as these countries continue on their upward development track and take on a greater regional and international profile, from the TPP and the Pacific Alliance, through the UN and to the FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.
But more importantly, we return with a stronger appreciation of the strategic reasons for New Zealand to lift its game in Latin America.