UAE-NZ ties growing

By Abdul Basit, Khaleej Times

31 January 2012 DUBAI – Trade between the UAE and New Zealand is expected to continue its significant growth, according to New Zealand Consul-General in Dubai Steve Jones.

Trade figures show New Zealand exports to the GCC have grown from $695 million in 2009 to $1.2 billion in 2011 that shows a 71 per cent increase over the two-year period.

Dubai’s attraction to more tourists will increase demand for food and beverage products and it will provide opportunities to New Zealand companies to boost exports, Jones, who is also trade commissioner for Middle East and Africa, told Khaleej Times in Dubai late on Sunday.

As the Dubai tourism market grows, demand for fine products will go up in parallel and New Zealand will be able to supply more products for tourism and hospitality sector in Dubai, he said.

“We would still be expected significant growth annual growth over the next couple of years,” Jones said, adding that UAE exports to New Zealand have also increased in the last couple of year, mostly petrochemicals.

Exports to the region are mostly dairy products where New Zealand companies have expertise at international level. It’s one of the biggest sectors for exports, he added.

“While New Zealand is well known as a food and beverage exporter, increasingly our exports to the Gulf region are diversifying away from just food and beverages to include ICT, education and consultancy, and specialised manufacturing,” he said.

He mentioned that 85 companies are working in the UAE and more new companies are expected to establish base in the UAE this year. He lists a number of companies which have made business impact in the region in the last year. These include weather forecasting and digital media company Metra, health technology company Winscribe, security systems firm Gallagher, and specialist composite construction engineering company Pultron Composites.

While trade ties are strengthened by New Zealand-based companies expanding into the region, there is also a clear government-level commitment to the region — with the opening of a New Zealand Embassy in the UAE, and joint New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise visits to Oman and Qatar. “New Zealand and the UAE have had an excellent economic and trade relationship for so many years now and the establishment of our embassy in Abu Dhabi underscores the fact that we are looking at further growing that relationship with the UAE across all sectors of society,” Malcolm Millar, Ambassador of New Zealand to the UAE, said.

“It is indeed noteworthy that our trade relations with this nation have witnessed tremendous growth and we are confident that those figures will keep an upward trajectory in the coming years.”

NZTE’s Beachheads programme — a global, public-private partnership of independent advisors and NZTE staff working closely with high-growth New Zealand businesses looking to succeed internationally — has helped an increasing number of growing businesses gain a foothold in the Middle East.

“Beachheads is a very successful programme worldwide, and we are planning to expand the service in the Middle East. It is most relevant to New Zealand companies with a permanent presence and senior management based in the region, and those planning for growth,” Jones said.