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New Zealand & Samoa Businesses Explore Potential Trade Opportunities

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 24 MAY 2023: A Trade Summit between the New Zealand and Samoa businesses has been exploring trade and business opportunities between the two countries on the theme “The Old Net is Cast Aside While the New Net Goes Fishing.”

Leading the New Zealand delegation is the Hastings Mayor, To’asavili Sandra Hazlehurst with several Hastings business operators, and interested business people from around New Zealand including the NZ Trade Commissioner for the Pacific, David Dewar.

To’asavili Sandra Hazlehurst met with Samoa’s Prime Minister late last year when Fiame visited Samoans working under the Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme in Hastings and discussed opportunities on trade and RSE employment.

“We looked at opportunities including training some RSE workers in different trades to bring back those skills to Samoa. Those opportunities are all on the table and this trade summit is an opportunity for us to sit around the table and work out where opportunities lie,” said To’asavili.

The 3 days dialogue started on Monday with the Minister for Commerce, Industry & Labour, Leatinu’u Wayne So’oialo delivering the keynote address.

He said such a summit is important and hoped local business operators would be invited to participate.

NZ trade delegation with Minister
NZ trade delegation with Minister

Hasting District Council Chief Executive Officer Toasavili Nigel Bickle, the Minister of Commerce Industry & Labour, Leatinuu Wayne Sooialo, Hastings Mayor To’asavili Sandra Hazlehurst & Tuisalega Farane of Hastings & participants for the Trade Summit 2023.

The trade summit in Samoa was an initiative by Hasting business couple Taloto Eli Tagi and Wyndi Tagi of the WE-Mana Trade & Business System.

The summit aims at sharing knowledge and expertise to enable the business community to create their own normal post-covid pandemic system.

Leatinu’u said, Samoa like other countries was not immune to the impact of the pandemic and its impact on the country’s economy, pressure on health, education, business sector and the overwhelming uncertainty, created a reality that Samoa continues to face.

“We envisioned that it would take years to recover from these challenges and we have no choice but to adjust our response and activity to living in a post-Covid environment.

“For our existing local businesses, post-Covid survival includes exploring the opportunities to create a new normal and also embracing opportunities in sectors like out sourcing e-commerce and technology and innovation space,” he said.

NZ trade SAME
NZ trade SAME

The New Zealand trade delegation session with the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters.

He said the Government of Samoa is committed to growing a diversified economy and resilient to global and national pressures while ensuring that we continue to support measures that reflect needs and opportunities that further enhance national resilience.

The New Zealand Trade Commissioner to the Pacific, Dewar wanted to know from the local businesses the key for success for a New Zealand business to come and work in and with a Samoan business.

He also wanted to know the common mistake foreign investors make when they come to Samoa.

These are some of the questions hoped to be answered during the summit deliberations.