New Zealand Prime Minister leads multi-sector business delegation to Japan

Tokyo, May 17, 2017: A delegation of New Zealand business leaders led by New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon Bill English attended a series of engagements on the second day of their trade mission to Japan.

The mission’s aim is to capitalize on opportunities to increase collaboration in key areas of food and beverage, agricultural technology, renewable energy and major events hosting and sports coaching amongst others.

The delegation consists of business leaders from industries where Japan and New Zealand can further strengthen their trade relationships and work together for mutual benefits.

Japan is New Zealand’s 4th largest goods export market and is worth NZD $3b (JPY234b), with Fruit as one of the top exports to Japan, accounting for NZD $410m (JPY32b). For food and beverages, dairy, fruit & nuts and meat account for the majority of food exports with New Zealand wine exports to Japan increasing as well. New Zealand dairy exports alone are worth NZD$473 million (JPY37b), with cheese and protein contributing 27% of F&B exports; while notably the single most exported food product is kiwifruit, which accounts for 20% of the total F&B exports (NZD$390 million (JPY30b)).

The delegation gained insight into Japanese supply chain and retail industries through a visit to a major supermarket chain, hosted by Zespri Japan. Japan has been Zespri’s number one market for both value and volume for many years. Last season, Zespri sold a record 24 million trays of kiwifruit in Japan, earning around $500 million in sales and accounting for 16 percent of global sales.

Family-owned Māori food and beverage producer, Kono NZ LP (Kono), was also part of the business delegation. Kono currently exports Greenshell™ mussels and award-winning Tohu wine to Japan. “This [trade] visit will provide an opportunity to deepen existing relationships and build new ones, as well help us further understand our Japanese consumers, so we can tailor products to their needs,” says Kono CEO Rachel Taulelei.

New Zealand’s population of 4.5 million people feeds 40 million people in over 200 countries, and aims to continue to delight Japanese consumers with its fresh and healthy produce.

Regarding Renewable Energy, Japan and NZ work together to fortify their positions as global leaders in clean energy. New Zealand has a long and proud history of geothermal development and has the largest proportion of geothermal energy providing electricity in the OECD. New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Japan Craig Pettigrew says, “Japanese companies were involved in the earlier development of New Zealand’s geothermal sector and this provides a good opportunity for future cooperation and collaboration in both Japan and other countries.” Japan’s energy plan looks to reduce reliance on fossil fuel and increase renewable energy by 2030.

The delegation, along with the Government officials, will continue their trade mission tomorrow, flying to Hokkaido to meet with agricultural industry leaders and discuss successful collaboration cases. “There are plenty more opportunities on how Japan and New Zealand can share agricultural knowledge and experience and potential growth in this sector together,” closes Pettigrew.

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Official Mission booklet:

Click here to view the Official Japan Mission Booklet

Kono NZ media release is also available in Japanese here.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Alexander Blackhall
Account Manager
Weber Shandwick
+81 3 54277339

Dawn Tay
Regional Marketing & Communications Manager, East Asia
New Zealand Trade & Enterprise
+65 65724377