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Biggest trade mission showcases Tonga’s business potential

The New Zealand Tonga Business Council’s recent business mission to Tonga was one of the most significant trade missions to leave New Zealand shores for the Pacific, says Michael Greenslade, Trade Commissioner of Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) NZ.

The 35-strong delegation, the biggest ever group of its kind to visit Tonga from New Zealand, comprised businesspeople and investors from such wide-ranging sectors as property investment, energy, food and agriculture, shipping, health, education, telecommunications broadcasting, aluminium, construction, accommodation/hospitality, dairy products, trade promotion agencies, the New Zealand government, fisheries and other industry.

“It was heartening to see such deep engagement of PT&I at different levels,” Mr Greenslade said. “PT&I Advisory Board member Matua Shane Jones [New Zealand’s Economic Development Ambassador for the Pacific] was instrumental in getting interested people to join the mission.” Other board members Rohit Reddy and Rachel Afeaki Taumoepeau also played prominent roles in the mission. “Manuel Valdez, Joe Fuavao and I represented PT&I. NZTBC Chairman Sione Taufa was outstanding in arranging business meetings and engagements during the week,” Mr Greenslade added.

The mission has stirred enough interest among some delegates to think in terms of a follow up visit to the island nation in the near future, says Manuel Valdez, Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) Head of Investments and Chief Operating Officer.

The one-on-one business meetings were well organised and structured, which made the business mission productive and successful, Mr Valdez said. “The delegates directly met and mingled with key business people and government officials during the weeklong mission in Tonga. We expect that some Kiwi businessmen will go back to Tonga to discuss the nitty-gritty of joint ventures and contract signing,” he added. “PT&I always stands ready to help them facilitate their business interests in Tonga or any of the Forum Pacific Islands.”

As well as attending presentations from senior Government and public sector officials on a range of topics including energy, tourism, banking and finance, ICT and investment opportunities, the delegates visited several businesses and interacted with business owners throughout the visit.

The business mission coincided the reopening of the iconic Tanoa Dateline International Hotel and their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u of Tonga gave a blessing on the grand opening and. Ambassador Matua Jones delivered a speech at the big event. Prime Minister of Tonga Hon. Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva also spoke with the vote of thanks delivered by Reddy Group Managing Director, Rohit Reddy.

Trade Commissioner Greenslade and PT&I staff visited the Ministry of Commerce, Communication, Tourism, Industry and Labour (MCCTIL) office to discuss several projects on hand. Minister of MCCTIL, Programme Manager Tevita Lautaha and the key officers of the Hahake Agriculture Cooperative discussed some issues to make the export of agriculture products to the New Zealand market productive and effective, Mr Valdez said.

 Photo NZ HC Facebook   Source: Pacificperiscope
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