NZ brands take next step forward

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-21

Executives of a host of New Zealand national brands are attending the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia held in Boao, Hainan province, from April 18-21, aiming to promote brands from the country.

Themed “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation”, this year’s conference continues to focus on major economic and social issues facing China, Asia and the world, such as global economic outlook, reform of the World Trade Organization, global trade, financial cooperation and sustainable development.

During the conference, executives from New Zealand companies including Fonterra, Zespri and Silver Fern Farms delivered speeches at different occasions including the Multinational Corporation China CEO Roundtable and NEXT Dialogue in Boao.

To cope with the challenge brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, China and New Zealand have strengthened cooperation in various fields, providing a positive force for economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the executives.

Miles Hurrell, global CEO of Fonterra, said: “We’ve made a lot of progress in the last four decades in China. This is partly thanks to the great work from our team on the ground but it would not have been possible without the efforts made by governments in both countries to support and enhance the bilateral economic and trade relationship.”

Daniel Mathieson, global CEO of Zespri, a renowned New Zealand fruit company, acknowledged China’s success in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, which has enabled the Chinese economy to continue growing. He mentioned that Zespri also has long-standing and mutually beneficial relationships with a number of partners in China, right through its supply chain.

In November 2020, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

In January, China and New Zealand signed an upgraded free trade agreement, which is expected to generate fresh momentum for higher-level cooperation between the two countries.

As rotating chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Forum, New Zealand will host an online APEC 2021.

Simon Limmer, chief executive of Silver Fern Farms, said: “China and New Zealand are embracing a higher level of openness to each other, bringing more open dividends to enterprises and people in both countries, spanning trade, investment and international cooperation in the agricultural industry.”

Teh-han Chow, CEO for Greater China of Fonterra, said that engagements between government and business have been important in ensuring that businesses in both countries are well placed to take up the opportunities presented by these agreements.

In the face of the pandemic, there are broad fields for China and New Zealand to deepen cooperation, in areas such as fighting the pandemic, promoting economic and trade recovery, deepening free trade, optimizing the business environment, and addressing climate change and public health issues, said Michael Jiang, general manager for Greater China of Zespri.

To support business exchanges between enterprises in New Zealand and China, the NEXT Federation and New Zealand Business Roundtable in China jointly hosted the NEXT Dialogue in Boao 2021 during the conference.

Ivan Kinsella, chair of New Zealand Business Roundtable in China, said the trading relationship between China and New Zealand is very important.

“In the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, entrepreneurs play a crucial role. New Zealand businesses appreciate good communication with the Chinese government and the interaction with the Chinese market,” Kinsella said.

In 2020, the NEXT Federation initiated the New Zealand National Brands Programme, aiming to promote New Zealand brands and serve trade development in the global market.

The first batch of brands listed in the program include Fonterra, Zespri, Queenstown and Silver Fern Farms, according to the NEXT Federation.

As a global platform for integration and transformation of industrial resources, the NEXT Federation will join hands with global partners to promote New Zealand’s national brands around the world and foster global innovation, cooperation and sustainability, said Jun Chen, secretary-general of the NEXT Federation.

Alex Wang, China country manager of Silver Fern Farms, said: “We are looking forward to bringing our expertise and best cases to China, enhancing communication and technology exchange in the sector, and deepening collaboration with stakeholders to provide the high-quality and safe red meat products to better meet the demands of Chinese consumers.”

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