Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

Philippine Ambassador meets with the Otago Chamber of Commerce Incorporated in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

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As the Philippine Embassy simultaneously delivers its mobile consular services for the Filipino communities and embarks on economic diplomacy initiatives in Dunedin and the surrounding cities of the South Island in New Zealand on 12-16 February 2015, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa made a business call on the Otago Chamber of Commerce Incorporated represented by its Managing Director, Ms. Ali Copeman and Ms. Cara Bradley, Executive Assistant and International Manager on 13 February 2015.

The Chamber offers businesses and business people a range of services and advocacy as it is dedicated to promoting and actively encouraging business growth and opportunity throughout the Otago region. Its members come from all sectors and industries, in all shapes and sizes of organizations and from many towns throughout the Otago region. Its focus is to deliver timely information and support to businesses by providing access to business information and resources, connecting members through networking events and functions, developing capability and skills through training workshops and programmes, and advocating and offering a voice for business concerns on behalf of members on local and national government policy.

Ambassador Benavidez shared the advantages of the Philippines as an investment destination given the cost effectiveness of manufacturing and other industries and the abundance of skilled manpower fluent in English as well as possible mutually beneficial arrangements to boost trade, business and educational partnerships between the Philippines and New Zealand. New Zealand’s ideas, contacts and brand complement the Philippines’ globally known and much appreciated skilled work force and entrepreneurs, strategic location and accessibility to markets in the Southeast Asian region, cost competitiveness and value proposition and trustworthiness to sustain business relationships. Discussions focused on Philippines-New Zealand trade and joint ventures on wood and smoked salmon processing, opportunities and development of the dairy industry and prospects for greater cooperation with the Philippines. She also stated that IT, animation and digital arts, food safety and mussels are areas of priority for the Philippines and niche opportunities could be developed in these areas with further engagement between the Philippines and Dunedin. The Chamber informed the Ambassador that it is encouraging IT/Software companies in Dunedin to increase their exports by linking up with foreign markets as well as focusing on promoting strengths in Intellectual Property (IP) and research capabilities. Given the internationally recognized curriculum, courses and training programmes of Otago Polytechnic and the School of Arts of University of Otago in animation, creative and digital arts, linkages with Gigatown, ADI, ARL and Natural History New Zealand, among others, these offer excellent pathways for training and upskilling of Filipinos in these crucial areas.

Ambassador Benavidez thanked the Otago Chamber of Commerce Incorporated for a fruitful meeting, and said she is looking forward to possible business, trade and investment, and educational opportunities with Dunedin.

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