Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippine Ambassador meets with the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce in New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand

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As the Philippine Embassy simultaneously delivers its mobile consular services for the Filipino communities and embarks on economic diplomacy initiatives in New Plymouth, Taranaki and the surrounding cities of the North Island in New Zealand on 24-27 October 2014, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa made a business call on the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce represented by its Chief Executive Officer Richard Williams, Ms. Marcia Tippet, Business & Retail Association Coordinator, Ms. Maura Young, Business Development Manager and Ms. Loren Anderson, Advocacy & Administration Manager on 24 October 2014. Also present at the meeting were Ms. Vicki Fairley, General Manager-Marketing, Venture Taranaki, and Mr. Nick Fleming, Regional Manager, Taranaki, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE).

The Chamber, Venture Taranaki and NZTE work with all business organizations by providing advocacy, support services and networking towards building a better business environment in the city. They make up the integrated teams working in economic development, tourism, marketing and events, which work one-on-one with individuals, businesses, small groups, media and industry sectors to grow the economic wellbeing of Taranaki. The Chamber is a focal point to facilitate interaction across the community's businesses and to provide increased awareness of the diversity of the business environment. An overview of the white gold (dairy) and black gold (oil and gas) economic strengths of Taranaki as well as its expertise in engineering and availability of skills upgrading and courses at the Western Institute of Technology in Taranaki (WITT) was provided. This was followed by exchange of views on possible synergies and linkages in human resources development and skills training for Filipinos and New Zealanders.

Discussions focused on Philippines-New Zealand trade and joint ventures on wood and smoked salmon processing, opportunities and development of the dairy industry and prospects for greater cooperation with the Philippines. Ambassador Benavidez shared the advantages of the Philippines as an investment destination given the cost effectiveness of manufacturing and other industries and the abundance of skilled manpower fluent in English as well as possible mutually beneficial arrangements to boost trade, business and educational partnerships between the Philippines and New Zealand.

Subsequent discussions focused on the importance and complementarities in the Philippines-New Zealand cooperation on the Taranaki region’s strengths, such as dairy, oil and gas, and design. Ambassador Benavidez stated that dairy, geothermal energy, IT, and air connectivity are areas of strength of the Philippines and niche opportunities could be developed in these areas with further engagement between the Philippines and Taranaki. Ambassador Benavidez thanked the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, Venture Taranaki, and NZTE for a fruitful meeting, and said she is looking forward to visiting Taranaki again for possible business, trade and investment, and education opportunities.

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