PHL Ambassador meets with the Waikato Chamber of Commerce in Hamilton, New Zealand
As the Philippine Embassy simultaneously delivers its mobile consular services for the Filipino communities and embarks on economic diplomacy initiatives in Hamilton, Waikato and the surrounding areas of the North Island in New Zealand on 10-13 July 2015, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Obach made a business call on Waikato Chamber of Commerce (WCC) represented by its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. William Durning, on 10 July 2015. Also present at the meeting were Dairy Goat Cooperative (DGC) executives, Mr. Antony Smith, General Manager – Customers, and Mr. David Hemara, General Manager – Strategy and Commercial.
Ambassador Benavidez shared with the WCC how the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out to the Filipino community through the mobile consular services and dialogue, demonstrate its caring and sharing spirit and bring the Embassy’s services closer to them. She stated that this is the 43rd mobile consular mission conducted by the Philippine Embassy since October 2011. To date, a total of 18,239 Filipinos comprising 44.35% of the 41,129 members of the Filipino community have benefitted from this first ever mobile consular service throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Cook Islands.
Subsequent discussions focused on 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.
The DGC executives also took the opportunity to explain their business with Ambassador Benavidez, as well as the challenges they have encountered developing the market for goat milk formula in the Philippines. DGC developed the world's first goat milk based nutritional products for infants in 1988. DGC brands combine the most recent nutritional science with state of the art processing and "whole of milk use" to deliver the natural nutritional benefits of goat milk. Although DGC sales have been slow in the Philippines for the past couple of years, its export markets have continued to diversify and the formula products are now well established in around 20 countries including New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.
The importance and complementarities in the Philippines-New Zealand cooperation were also highlighted as Ambassador Benavidez stated how the Philippines is now on the “radar screens” of New Zealand specifically in the areas of dairy, geothermal energy, IT, food, security, education, tourism and air connectivity.
Ambassador Benavidez thanked the Waikato Chamber of Commerce for a productive meeting and fruitful interaction and said she is looking forward to possible business, trade and investment opportunities with Hamilton.