The Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are hosting the New Zealand Samoa Trade and Investment Commission business mission this week.
The mission is to not only build partnerships with local businesses but also to create trade and investment opportunities for all.
N.Z.S.T.I.C. was launched in Auckland in 2011 by the government of Samoa with the key objective to facilitate, strengthen and increase the flow of trade and investment between the two countries.
Yesterday, a Forum held at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel saw government officials and representatives of different businesses come together to discuss trade.
The Chamber’s Chief Executive Officer, Lemauga Hobart Va’ai, said the forum is really a great opportunity for local businesses to network with potential partners in New Zealand.
“It’s just us connecting our local businesses to businesses in New Zealand,” he said. “It’s about creating opportunities for our people, trade opportunities and investment opportunities.
“We want to be exporting more to New Zealand so having partners like these are very important. We also deeply acknowledge the government’s work; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with their Trade Division as our partner; they give us the programme of what they want and we then we try to match it with what’s available locally.
“It’s important that we all work together.
“This is only the beginning of the forum but over the next two days, N.Z.S.T.I.C. has already organized meetings with other government ministries who are not here with us today.
“It’s basically looking for investment opportunities for those of us here.
“So they can just come and see our manufacturers and see what’s available in Samoa, that they can be partners of and that’s the most important thing about this meeting.
“We want an ongoing relationship with the teams so they’re using us; Chamber, as the vehicle to highlight the businesses that are available to this; you know who would be looking for investment and also for trade opportunities.
“N.Z.S.T.I.C. have come with their own list; of what they’re looking to invest in, so we go around looking for the right people.
“The N.Z.S.T.I.C. group that is here today are mostly education providers so what we do is try and partner up these people with local businesses so local businesses can develop.”
The Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti expressed his disappointment about the poor participation by local businesses.
“I’m very disappointed that not many Samoan business people are here when they should be here,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity to create partnerships and to learn from N.Z.S.T.I.C. experiences and successes.
“Anyways one of the government’s strategic common outcomes is not only to enhance the participation of private sectors in the development of our economy but also and more importantly, to make a private sector the engineer of economic growth.
“This is an opportunity to invest.
“Please don’t hesitate to come forward with recommendations on how we need to improve and in what area.”
Sili also acknowledged the government of New Zealand for their support.
The second and last day for this business forum is today, at Tanoa Tusitala Conference room at 9am.