FILIPINO BUSINESSMAN PUTS THE SPOTLIGHT ON PHILIPPINES-NEW ZEALAND PARTNERSHIP AND BUSINESS IN THE ASEAN REGION


As New Zealand and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) celebrates 40 years of partnership this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) organized a highly successful and well-attended event entitled “Doing Business with ASEAN” in the context of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) on 25 June 2015 at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Auckland. Hon. Steven Joyce, Minister for Economic Development, Science and Innovation and Tertiary Education gave the opening address which highlighted the distinct advantages, real opportunities and massive pay-off for New Zealand in the fast growing ASEAN region of more than 600 million people. In his presentation of “ASEAN: The Next Horizon”, Mr. Glenn Maguire, ANZ Bank Chief Economist for the Asia Pacific pointed out the strengths of the ASEAN member nations, the availability of a young work force and the formation of an ASEAN Economic Community by the end of 2015. The Philippines is positioned in a middle ground on a cost/benefit scale of doing business compared to the other ASEAN countries.

Mr. Jonathan Dee, Chairman and Founder of Alliance Select Food International, a tuna and salmon company, was the first speaker on the session highlighting business lessons and experiences of doing business in ASEAN. Mr Dee was an excellent speaker and provided a hugely promotional presentation of doing business in the Philippines. His presentation entitled “Finding Each Other, the Philippines and New Zealand” began with the focus, size, structure and reach of his business in the domestic, regional and international arenas. He stated that “even small businesses can participate in big opportunities in ASEAN” and pointed out the importance of a strong business relationship such as the cooperation between himself and his New Zealand business partner Mr. Henry Studholme of Prime Foods New Zealand and business expansion with Big Glory Bay Salmon and Seafood Inc. and Akaroa Salmon New Zealand Ltd. He cited the benefits of doing business in the Philippines, the economic gains and growth story of the country, its strategic location, increased investor-friendliness and the demographic sweet spot for this year which means that the majority of the Filipinos will be of productive youthful working median age of 23 years. Mr. Dee’s company and his partnership with New Zealand’s salmon and seafood companies taking into account the strengths and complementarity of each other and expanding their businesses in the regional and international markets are among the best examples of an ideal business relationship and a perfect fit within the AANZFTA framework.

Atty. Paulo Garcia, Philippine Honorary Consul General to Auckland and Ms. Agnes Espineda, Managing Director, Tactics Ltd. were among those who attended the business and networking event which they found to be a highly informative, enlightening and valuable one.

Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez congratulated Mr. Dee for an excellent and impressive presentation which put the spotlight on the vital business connections between the Philippines and New Zealand and in the context of AANZFTA, definitely opened the doors for potential investors to consider the Philippines as an attractive destination for trade, business, tourism, investments and economic cooperation and promoted the distinct advantages of the Philippines and the world class talents of the Filipino people in the business world, the global village and the ASEAN Economic Community.

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