The largest ever business delegation to visit the Middle East from New Zealand, led by the Honourable Tim Groser, New Zealand Minister of Trade, is set to arrive in Manama tomorrow with the aim of reinforcing and expanding trade relationships between the two countries.
The delegation consists of over 90 New Zealand business leaders representing over 60 leading New Zealand companies looking to capitalise on the solid growth and economic modernisation taking place throughout the region.
According to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the government’s economic development agency, the GCC as a whole is an increasingly important contributor to New Zealand’s economic prosperity. Trade between New Zealand and the GCC totalled over USD2.1 billion last year - a 40 per cent increase since 2000 - making the GCC New Zealand’s sixth largest bilateral trading partner.
As one of the most mature and well-established business hubs in the Gulf region, Bahrain has been a market of significance to New Zealand for many years. Bilateral trade between New Zealand and Bahrain totalled over US$ 57 million dollars last year, a phenomenal 170% increase since 2007.
New Zealand exported goods worth US$ 47 million to Bahrain last year and exports from Bahrain to New Zealand were valued at US$ 10 million – representing increases of 250% and 33% respectively compared to 2007 figures. In addition, the two nations have developed significant trade in services over recent years.
Mr Groser, New Zealand Minister of Trade, commented on the visit: “Bahrain has long been recognised as an important business hub for New Zealand, with a well developed regulatory environment that is supportive of business growth. Our visit demonstrates the depth of our commitment to the region, and the growing relationship between our nations presents valuable commercial opportunities for both New Zealand and Bahrain companies.”
“This is a unique chance for New Zealand business leaders to demonstrate to local partners here the breadth of expertise that we can offer and to expand the existing economic relationships within Bahrain, leading to a stronger and more diversified presence in both markets,” he added.
A significant New Zealand / Bahrain collaboration has been the success of the Polytechnic of Bahrain, which opened its doors on 14 September 2008 under the management and guidance of Polytechnics International New Zealand Limited (PINZ). The Polytechnic is a key initiative within Bahrain’s National Education Reform programme being implemented by the Economic Development Board (EDB).
Government lead initiatives such as this GCC business mission aim to broaden the trade relationship with Bahrain by developing specific opportunities in the education and services, telecommunications, food and beverage, and marine sectors.
The Minister of Trade and the business delegation will begin their GCC visit in Saudi Arabia before continuing to Manama in Bahrain, and will complete the tour with visits to Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.