Current restrictions on genetic modification regulation in New Zealand could be reviewed if National were to form the next government.
So says Catherine Beard, chief executive of ExportNZ.
The Government has just announced New Zealand will participate in World Expo 2020, to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It is committing $53.3 million to construct a NZ pavilion.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says “that will allow Kiwi businesses to highlight their innovative products and services and open doors to new export markets”.
The expo site will be about 2 sq.km and will contain three themed areas: opportunity, sustainability and mobility. NZ has been invited to participate in the sustainability precinct.
Beard told Rural News Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the UAE is NZ’s largest export market in the Middle East and the country’s 12th-largest trading partner.
“In addition NZ is close to securing a free trade deal with the wider area of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) which includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia,” she says.
“If the trade deal comes off then our exports will become even more competitive than they are now and there will be increased interest from NZ firms to tackle those markets.”
This expo in Dubai will be an important showcase for NZ’s country brand, showing the range of things we can do as a country with a sustainability theme, Beard says. “GCC countries are rich in oil and gas, but lack farmland for food production and have high demand for imported food and drinks,” she says.
“NZ’s trusted dairy and meat exports meet some of that demand and there is increasing interest in food service exports into hotels, restaurant chains, etc.
“GCC countries are also motivated to reduce their trade reliance on oil and diversify their economies into high-tech and service sectors.”
Beard says the focus of NZ’s stand will be showcasing our innovation in sustainability, showing we can do more than just sell commodity products.
“I imagine we will be showcasing sustainability in farming practices right through to manufacturing and services.”
Bridges says showcasing NZ to the world is a crucial aspect of boosting economic growth. Expo 2020 will provide a springboard to promote us as an innovative, solution-focused economy to the 25 million visitors expected to attend from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
“It will also allow us to build on our strong economic and transport links to the UAE, which acts as a global air and sea logistics hub, providing access for NZ exporters to a much wider region. We’re already well connected by five direct daily Emirates flights, contributing $700 million to the economy,” says Bridges.
The expo will run from October 2020 to April 2021.
The organisers expect about 180 nations to participate. NZ is among the first 20 to formally confirm attendance.