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Kiwi exporters explore trade prospects in Cebu

CEBU, Philippines — The New Zealand Government is helping its exporters to forge linkages with businesses in Cebu, in a bid to fortify trade relations between both markets.

"We continue to strengthen our ties and explore partnerships that would be beneficial for Cebu and New Zealand," said Ambassador David Strachan during his visit in Cebu, together with a delegation of New Zealand diplomats.

According to Strachan, New Zealand is exploring potential investments specifically on food and beverage, wood processing, furniture and information technology innovations sectors.

Just like Cebu, majority or 80 percent of New Zealand exporters are small and medium enterprises, Strachan said, making the two countries a perfect match.

Already, Strachan mentioned there is a growing number of big Filipino companies that are setting up investments in New Zealand, such as URC, Metro Pacific's Dairy arm.

This time, with a strengthened link with the SMEs in both countries, bilateral trade is expected to improve further.

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New Zealand is home to a huge Filipino community. More than one percent of its population are Filipinos, making it the third largest and fastest growing Asian community.

Most Filipinos are working in the professional service sector, although the country also opening job opportunities in other industries like medical, agriculture and others.

The New Zealand Embassy in the Philippines' delegation visited Cebu led by Strachan included; Trade Commissioner Hernando Banal, Tourism New Zealand regional manager Steven Dixon, Education New Zealand regional immigration operations manager Sarah Clifford.

The group also met with local officials, business leaders, to raise their country's profile at the same time expanding and strengthening trade ties.

New Zealand is also becoming a popular education destination for Filipinos, thus the Embassy is also advancing its promotion in this area also.

More than 4,000 Filipino students study in New Zealand--the fifth largest source of students worldwide.

The number of Filipino students choosing to study in New Zealand Universities has also risen by 35 percent this year. (FREEMAN)

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