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  -  Business   -  Southeast Asia Business   -  Strengthening Business Ties: Highlights from the ‘Bringing ASEAN to New Zealand’ Programme

28 May 2024

From 13 to 16 May 2024, the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence (SEA CAPE), in collaboration with New Zealand Asian Leaders, the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Palmerston North/Wellington, Export NZ and The United Nations Association of New Zealand, hosted a series of events in different cities in North island as part of SEA CAPE’s ‘Bringing ASEAN to NZ’ programme.

The Fellows—Watcharas Leelawath from Thailand, Lyn Sia Rosmarin from Singapore, and Senthil Balan from Malaysia—embarked on an insightful tour spanning four pivotal cities in New Zealand: Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, Palmerston North, and Wellington. This initiative aims to deepen understanding and bolster business relationships between New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

These well-attended events provided a platform for attendees to engage with the Fellows and gain valuable insights into Southeast Asian markets. Throughout the sessions, the Fellows shared their extensive knowledge on various aspects of conducting business in Southeast Asia. They particularly emphasised the importance of personal connections and face-to-face interactions, highlighting the necessity of being present in the market.

Building strong, trust-based relationships was underscored as crucial, often noting that knowing ‘who’ can be more advantageous than knowing ‘how’.

Adapting the “Premium New Zealand” Brand: While the “Premium New Zealand” brand is highly valued, it is essential to tailor approaches to meet the unique demands of each Southeast Asian market. Additionally, the delegation strongly encouraged New Zealand businesses to utilise free trade agreements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which offer substantial benefits to exporters.

The New Zealand government has identified Southeast Asia as a key region for its ambitious export growth plan. Prime Minister Christopher Luxon’s first international trade mission to Southeast Asia underscores this commitment. Strengthening ties with the region is seen as crucial for enhancing New Zealand’s security and prosperity.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the ASEAN Fellows for their impactful visit to New Zealand. We look forward to more collaborative and successful engagements!

Southeast Asia CAPE