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  • 09 Mar 2021 6:26 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    MEA Drives Growth for International Retailers With Customer Experience Innovation

    Digital agency and app developer MEA today announced the release of its photo printing apps for Apple’s new M1 Mac. The new apps help customers order photo prints and gifts from Apple’s new Macs that are powered by Apple Silicon, the first ever chip designed by Apple for desktop computers.

    MEA’s award winning photo printing apps, including Photo Prints+, Photo Prints Now and Printicular, are already available on iPhone and iPad. With the new Mac apps, customers can order photo prints & gifts directly from their desktop with all of the same features as the mobile apps.

    MEA has partnered with major retailers including in the USA, UK, Japan and New Zealand and provides optimised purchasing experiences for customers seeking local pick up & home delivery of photo gifts & products. Using the apps customers can place orders at more than 25,000 stores worldwide. MEA drives growth for its retail partners through innovative customer experiences and targeted customer acquisition.

    • Latest Macs now have the same silicon-chip as iPhone, allowing users to have the experience of an app on their desktop computer.
    • MEA’s apps are amongst the first of their kind to be released for the M1 Mac.

    The new M1 Macs are predicted to make an impact on the industry with their lower costs and higher performance. M1 Macs have been forecast to make up 7% of all laptop sales by July 2021.

    Releasing our existing iPad apps for Apple’s M1 Mac has opened up a whole new market and endless possibilities’ said Sacha Penny, Chief Marketing Officer at MEA. She added 'MEA is again working at the forefront of technology to find new ways to activate customers for our retail partners.'

    For more information contact us / +6492803209 / info@we-are-mea.com.

  • 03 Mar 2021 1:06 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The agency’s Chair, Andrew Ferrier, and Chief Executive, Peter Chrisp, recently appeared before the Select Committee for Economic Development, Science and Innovation.

    “I certainly don’t need to tell you all that it has been a tough and challenging year, but it also has been a year of opportunity," said Ferrier. “We have been part of the Government’s Trade Recovery Strategy, along with MFAT, MPI, MBIE, Regional Business Partners and other key government departments and agencies. This has been the most comprehensive NZ Inc effort that we have ever been involved with.

    “Within this broader effort, our focus at NZTE has been to do everything we can to support exporters to stay connected to international markets, through the most turbulent time that any of us can remember.”

    Chrisp detailed NZTE’s use of an extra $216 million over the next four years, allocated as part of the Government’s Trade Recovery Strategy. He said the additional funds were focused on three areas.

    “First, Intensity, which means we have doubled the number of high focus export companies, who receive the most intense services, from 700 to 1400.

    “Secondly, Reach, whereby we support all of New Zealand’s 12,000 export companies. We have done this by launching our new digital portal – myNZTE; by developing digital training and coaching; by ramping up access to private-sector advisers; and by significantly increasing the investment in the Regional Business Partner voucher system, with more than 11,000 companies receiving these services.

    “And, thirdly, Scale, which has meant employing 37 more people to support customers directly, most of them in overseas posts, to help exporters when they can’t travel to market themselves. We have also increased the amount of co-investment with companies by doubling the International Growth Fund, to a total of $60 million available to be approved this year.

    “In each of these areas, we have a particular focus on supporting Māori companies and investors, and have continued to grow and develop our internal Maori Team, Te Pora Maori.”

    Source: https://exportertoday.co.nz/

  • 26 Feb 2021 11:23 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Today America’s Brewers Association released its highly anticipated 2021 Beer Style Guidelines which have included two completely new styles recognising New Zealand hops:

    • New Zealand-Style Pale Ale
    • New Zealand-Style India Pale Ale

    The guidelines set the scene for brewers, beer judges and competition organisers all around the world. New Zealand hops have been recognised for their unique profile, providing flavours and aromas like no other hops. The Association has particularly noted the strength of New Zealand hop varieties; Nelson Sauvin™,  Moutere™, Wakatu™, Rakau™ and Motueka™. Use of these hops and others from the portfolio of New Zealand grown hops, will help define the features of these New Zealand-Style Pale Ales. The new beer styles will be part of the upcoming Great American Beer Festival (GABF), the largest annual blind tasting competition in the USA and the new categories are expected to draw a lot of entries.

    “This recognition of the unique style of New Zealand grown hops catapults our industry onto the world stage” says Craig Orr, CEO of NZ Hops.  “It honours our Growers, many have been growing hops here in Tasman for years, and our partners Plant and Food Research with whom we share a long term program on innovation for new varieties. Plus it acknowledges craft brewers everywhere for “creating” this category by continuing to innovate and push boundaries with our varietals. It is just phenomenal news.”

    The news comes as New Zealand hop growers are kicking off the annual harvest, the busiest time of the year when growers work around the clock to harvest and dry the precious cones. This year they can do so knowing these hops might find their way into beers around the globe with “NZ” proudly on the label.  The two new beer styles join only two others in the new guidelines; Kentucky Common Beer and Belgium-Style Session Ale.

    https://nzhops.co.nz/

  • 23 Feb 2021 7:10 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    New Zealand universities will be the first to benefit from a memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and global space and data analytics company Maxar Technologies .

    Maxar and MBIE have agreed on potential areas of collaboration, including use of advanced Earth observation satellites and data analytics, space technologies and science-technology-engineering and mathematics (STEM) education programmes.

    The MOU with Maxar is an excellent example of the work of MBIE’s Innovative Partnerships Programme and New Zealand Space Agency in forging partnerships with world-leading firms that can help drive innovation in New Zealand.

    Maxar Technologies is a trusted partner and has a history of providing timely, high-resolution satellite imagery to the New Zealand government, and establishing an MOU is an important step in enabling collaboration between our organisations.

    This agreement will provide important opportunities for New Zealand organisations to partner with a top innovator in Earth observation and Space Infrastructure.

    The first project between MBIE and Maxar, TakiWaehere – The Geospatial Hackathon, will take place over the weekend of 17-18 April 2021. Maxar will grant New Zealand university students access to portions of its vast imagery archive of high-resolution Earth observation data, which includes full coverage over New Zealand dating back almost 20 years. Access to this data will enable the students to learn from and analyse economic, health and environmental challenges, and create innovative solutions to real world cases.

    We’re looking forward to hosting the first of several projects with Maxar, and to further collaboration that will better position New Zealand to address its economic, social and environmental challenges.

    The MOU was signed virtually today from MBIE in Wellington and Maxar Technologies at their headquarters in Westminster, Colorado, USA.

    www.maxar.com


  • 31 Jan 2021 11:36 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    READOUT - OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON  - JANUARY 29, 2021

    The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

    Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with New Zealand Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta.  The Secretary and the Foreign Minister affirmed our close partnership, and the Secretary noted the outstanding example New Zealand has set in successfully combating COVID-19.  The ministers promised close cooperation to fight climate change, strengthen multilateral organizations, support Pacific Island countries, and promote human rights, the rule of law, and regional stability.  The Secretary pledged the United States’ support for New Zealand’s APEC host year.  Together the United States and New Zealand will continue to tackle the greatest challenges confronting our world in order to ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

  • 22 Jan 2021 11:48 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Translation technology acquisition will provide Straker with key connector technology, offer new enterprise translation relationships with major corporates, materially grow Straker’s revenue and is forecast to be EBITDA break-even in

    FY22. ACQUISITION HIGHLIGHTS:

    • Binding agreement to acquire Lingotek business and assets for US$6.47 million (NZ$9.1 million1 ), comprising US$5.27 million in cash and US$1.2 million in shares at transaction completion plus deferred consideration.
    • Extends and consolidates Straker’s presence in the multi-billion-dollar US translation market;
    • Establishes new relationships with 20 enterprise customers and partners, including Oracle, Nike, and Acquia;
    • Adds strategic translation connector technology onto Straker’s RAY Ai-powered technology platform;
    • Lingotek generated US$7.9m (NZ$11.2m) revenue in CY202 ;
    • The acquisition is expected to be EBITDA break-even in FY22;
    • Lingotek’s management team, including its founder/CEO to be aligned with acquisition success via a performance-linked earn-out structure and will continue to drive the business.
    • Competitively priced acquisition with a material component of SaaS revenue; and
    • Acquisition funded through a combination of new debt facility, equity and Straker’s cash reserves.

    Auckland, New Zealand – Straker Translations (ASX: STG), a leading global technology-driven translation services platform, today announces it has entered into a binding agreement with Lingotek, Inc to acquire (through a Straker US subsidiary) 100% of the ‘Lingotek’ business and all business assets from Lingotek, Inc for a combination of cash and share consideration.

    Lingotek, which is based in Lehi, Utah and was founded in 2006, provides translation technology, website and software localisation, consultancy and document management. Lingotek has 51 employees.

    Lingotek has developed a suite of advanced translation connectors, the software interfaces that allow customers to connect their systems with its translation management system. In the year ending December 31, 2020 Lingotek generated NZ$11.2 million (US$7.9m), of which around 40% is subscription-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) revenue.

    The asset purchase agreement was signed on 21 January 2021 and is expected to be completed on 1 February 2021. Completion of the transaction is not subject to any conditions precedent. Strategic benefits The acquisition consolidates and extends Straker’s presence in the multi-billion-dollar US translation market, establishing new relationships with 20 global enterprises, including Oracle Nike, and Acquia. It also offers Straker acquisition synergies, including the gains that will come from the integration of the RAY Ai-powered translation platform into Lingotek. The transaction will materially boost Straker’s revenue and is expected to be EBITDA break-even in FY22.

    Founder and Chief Executive Grant Straker said regarding the proposed acquisition: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement to acquire Lingotek. A key element of our strategy is to accelerate growth through the acquisition of companies that have relationships with global enterprises and/or key technology complimentary to our RAY Ai powered translation platform. We then realise the latent value in these relationships by upselling these companies on the gains that come with our global reach and our advanced RAY platform. This transaction is consistent with that long standing growth strategy.

    “Our approach was most recently validated by the transformative agreement we struck with IBM in November, when that Fortune 500 company agreed to make Straker its strategic translation provider. That agreement emerged out of a relationship between IBM and Spain’s MSS, which we acquired in 2018.

    “Lingotek offers similar potential. It represents a fantastic opportunity to acquire enterprise customers, SaaS revenue, a US-based team of enterprise salespeople and an in-market tech team.

    “Meanwhile the Lingotek’s technology offers strong synergies with Straker’s RAY platform with minimal overlap. Notably, over several years Lingotek has invested and innovated in advanced translation connector technology.

    “These connectors will position us with the most advanced technology in the industry and represent a strategic capability for Straker. They will dramatically increase the number of companies around the world to which we can seamlessly connect our RAY translation platform.

    “We are also delighted Lingotek’s founder and CEO Jeff Labrum has agreed to join Straker Translations and realise the considerable potential we see in combining our businesses, our technologies and leveraging Straker’s global reach,” Mr Straker said.

    Founder and Chief Executive of Lingotek, Jeff Labrum, stated: “It is with great anticipation that Lingotek joins Straker Translations. Lingotek’s suite of advanced translation technology will dovetail into Straker’s world-leading RAY Ai-powered translation platform, ensuring RAY remains the most advanced technology platform in the industry. Combining our technology and strategic customer relationships with RAY, as well as Straker’s global service offering, will help underpin Straker’s ongoing growth, particularly in the US.

    Combining with Straker will give us a truely global channel for our SaaS platform and innovative technology, which is a really exciting prospect.

    Lingotek customers will also benefit from having a global supplier with productivity enhancing technology, great people and a world leading service offering.

    Personally, I am very pleased to be joining the Straker team, as are my key senior colleagues, as Straker becomes a major player in the global translation sector providing the industry’s best Ai driven solutions and processes for the benefit of our customers.”

    Transaction detail Straker has agreed to an upfront payment on completion of US$6.47 million (NZ$9.1m3 ) for Lingotek, comprising US$5.27 million in cash and US$1.2 million in Straker ordinary shares at an issue price of AU$1.59 per share 4 The new shares will be issued under the Company’s 15% placement capacity under Listing Rule 7.1. Following completion it will also provide an additional US$0.71 million of working capital to drive growth from the Lingotek platform connectors across the Straker Group. In addition, Straker has agreed to pay earn-out consideration to the Lingotek vendors of up to an additional US$3.13m in cash over two years contingent on hitting revenue growth targets. The Company believes this structure strongly aligns the vendors with the ongoing success of the transaction. The acquisition is to be funded via a mix of equity, debt and cash reserves: § NZ$1.7m (US$1.2m) in new Straker shares issued to Lingotek vendors at AU$1.59 per share as initial upfront consideration; 5 § NZ$7.4m (US$5.27m) via a new debt facility, as initial upfront consideration; and § remaining NZ$4.4m (US$3.13) cash earn out consideration to be paid over the two year earnout period if the full earn-out is achieved, presently expected to be funded by Straker’s existing cash reserves at the relevant time. Lingotek’s management team, including its founder/CEO, will continue with the Lingotek business after acquisition and will continue to manage Lingotek operations from Lingotek’s US-based head office. New debt facility terms Straker has entered into two new debt facilities for a total committed amount of NZ$8.0m as follows: • a secured simple term debt facility of NZ$6.5 million, provided by a syndicate of high-net-worth investors, some of whom were early Straker investors, with an interest rate of 10.50% p.a.; and • a second unsecured simple term debt facility of NZ$1.5 million, provided by an entity associated with Steve Donovan, a Straker non-executive director, with an interest rate of 11.50 p.a.; • both facilities have a 12-month maturity and are otherwise on the same terms, with the exception of the security arrangements and interest rate; • both facilities will be fully drawn at transaction completion to fund the initial cash consideration and initial Lingotek working capital. Following completion of the acquisition, Straker’s balance sheet will remain strong with expected pro-forma gearing of approximately 1% on a net debt to net debt plus equity basis.

  • 21 Jan 2021 11:44 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, Guangzhou China Mayor Wen Guohui, and City of Los Angeles USA Mayor Eric Garcetti have extended the six-year-old Tripartite Economic Alliance between Auckland and its partner cities.

    This relationship was launched to boost economic, trade and investment opportunities between the three cities and deepen Auckland’s connections with two of the economic powerhouses in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says the partnership has already brought economic benefits for Auckland.

    “This economic alliance has delivered multimillion-dollar business deals for New Zealand businesses, created jobs and spurred economic growth in our city,” he says.

    “As New Zealand’s only city of scale, Auckland will play a key role in the national recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. The unique tri-city partnership that Auckland has with these two Pacific gateway cities is critical in ensuring we stay relevant and connected internationally. 

    “China and the US are major markets for Auckland, and our innovative businesses can leverage this partnership on the world stage.”

    Auckland Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore says, “Auckland’s success is built around the strength of our people and our partnerships. I look forward to continuing this Alliance and hope that we are able to connect with our partner cities in person again soon.”

    The three cities will start the third round of cooperation through 2022. In addition to economic interests, they will explore cooperation in the areas of COVID-19 response and emergency preparedness, climate action and green ports. There’s interest and close coordination with New Zealand’s education, film, and trade sectors.

    The Alliance has won several awards both nationally and internationally. The awards have raised Auckland’s profile and reputation and affirmed the Alliance as an exemplar of innovative international city-to-city engagement. Alliance activity will complement Auckland’s involvement in other international city networks, such as the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), which is chaired by Mayor Garcetti, City of Los Angeles.

    Guangzhou will host the Tripartite event (mostly likely a virtual event) in 2021. Last year’s event was postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic. The 2019 event was hosted in Auckland during TechWeek.

  • 18 Jan 2021 12:08 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Introduction

    Thank you, Traci—and welcome to all of you joining us from across this great nation, and all around the world.

    Let me start by wishing each of you a happy, healthy, and hopeful New Year.

    We come together today, optimistic—that’s right, optimistic—for the year and the future, because the State of American Business is resilient.

    In the face of significant challenges, including a global pandemic and an economic crisis, businesses have adapted to survive ... they have served their communities, and this country ... and they have put forward life-saving, world-changing solutions.

    Our nation has seen it in the determination of small businesses who have kept their doors open and kept their employees on payrolls against all odds ... we’ve seen it in the tireless dedication of the essential workers who have kept daily life running for all of us ... and we’ve seen it in the precedent-shattering global innovation leading to the development of safe and effective vaccines, faster than anyone dreamed.

    But there is no question, business could not have persevered through the challenges of the past year without the leadership and partnership of our government.

    As the Chamber marshaled all its resources and worked closely with state and local chamber partners to help businesses make it through an unprecedented economic shutdown, members of Congress worked together to pass four significant legislative packages, including the most sweeping federal aid in U.S. history.

    Amidst all of this, we also worked with our leaders to advance other critical priorities such as a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico ... badly needed new rules to rebalance corporate governance and help reverse the decline in public companies ... and the largest energy package in more than a decade.

    That package includes 40 new pieces of legislation that together will leverage private-sector innovation and help protect the environment. The Chamber was proud to support it.

    As we turn the page to 2021, we are focused on reigniting our economy and reasserting our leadership and competitiveness.

    That too, will hinge on the resilience of business and the partnership of government.

    It will take the collective strength of the thousands of members of the business community gathered for this event—and the millions of others who help power our economy. Together, we can help lead our country out of crisis and into a brighter future.

    It will take thoughtful action by our leaders, prioritizing the right policies at the right time. It will take prudence to avoid sweeping or unworkable proposals that would hold back our economic recovery. And it will take the courage and collaboration needed to govern with the country’s interests—and our collective future—at heart.

    Some may look back at the events of the last week and ask whether that’s possible.

    Let me say unequivocally—violence has no place in our democracy...no matter where it comes from, who perpetrates it, or what motivates it.

    But our democracy is strong. Our commitment to the rule of law is unwavering. And our government is resilient. After the Capitol was breached and our brave law enforcement officers protected lawmakers and staff and restored order, our Senators and Representatives promptly went back to work. Working into the early hours, they finished the job—confirming the clear and lawful election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got work to do, too—and we’re going to keep at it without distraction or deterrence.

    Leading the Recovery

    It begins with the recovery.

    Depending on where you sit, the recovery may be going fine—even well. Some industries, businesses, and segments of the workforce have thrived. We see the evidence in a surging stock market, record profits, robust consumer spending on goods, a housing boom, and rising personal savings rates. Smart and aggressive action by the Federal Reserve has played a significant role in the more positive aspects of the recovery.

    But it’s a very different story for those who have been negatively affected by the pandemic. Entire industries have been decimated because people aren’t traveling, gathering, shopping, or going out like they used to. Small businesses—particularly minority-owned, women-owned, and family-owned businesses—have been disproportionately impacted, many of them forced to shutter. 10 million people who had jobs last January don’t have jobs today.

    We won’t restore the jobs, growth, and prosperity that were lost in 2020 until we eradicate the pandemic and get our economy firing on all cylinders. And for that to happen, our elected officials must pull all the right policy levers—and push back against misguided proposals—in 2021.

    Most critically, we must continue to work with the new Congress and the Biden administration to help industries, businesses, and workers make it through to the end of this crisis. The pandemic is far from over, but if Congress sufficiently supports the economy with the relief it needs, we could see growth rebound by the third-quarter of this year. This must include all the support necessary to get the vaccines widely distributed and administered—only then can we truly move past the pandemic and begin to shrink the extraordinary expenditures that have been necessary to keep the system afloat.

    We can also stimulate the economy in a major way if we finally do the long overdue and broadly supported work of rebuilding our infrastructure. It’s the number one way to raise productivity, create jobs, and drive up incomes in a hurry.

    Our lawmakers should enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package that focuses on urgent needs like roads and bridges, modernizes our critical networks, and upgrades and expands technology like broadband.

    Even in a 50-50 Senate and a House divided by 5 votes, this can be done—and it might build some goodwill for bipartisan progress on other priorities. We’ve been working on this for more than 20 years. Let’s find a way to pay for it, and let’s get moving. This year, there can be no excuses for failure.

    To make infrastructure investment successful we not only need money, we need people—and that goes for our entire economy. For the many Americans who are out of work, we must prioritize finding them jobs through inclusive growth, and when needed, retraining.

    Our lawmakers should fund rapid training programs to connect the unemployed with jobs in new sectors. Employer-led initiatives should be prioritized to ensure training is aligned with industry needs and in-demand skills. Some of the best-paying sectors—such as health care or financial and professional services—have more job openings than available workers.

    If we do this right and do it quickly, we will improve the living standard for millions of Americans and get our economy growing even faster.

    At the same time, we need to tackle, head-on, systemic inequalities in education, employment, entrepreneurship, and the criminal justice system. Through our Equality of Opportunity Initiative, we are advocating for reform in Washington and working with chamber partners to address these issues in communities across the country.

    We also have to confront the reality that we have people without jobs and massive amounts of jobs without people.

    Even if we successfully employed every American willing and able to work, we would still face significant labor shortages—in construction, agriculture, health care, retail, manufacturing, and tech.

    We fought vigorously and successfully against actions by the Trump administration to severely limit legal immigration, and we will work cooperatively with the Biden administration to reform our immigration system to meet the needs of our modern economy.

    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise... Allowing the world’s most talented and industrious people to contribute to our economy drives growth, which in turn creates more jobs for Americans. This urgent priority should draw bipartisan support.

    Building consensus on immigration reform, workforce development, and infrastructure investment this year will help accelerate the widespread recovery and deliver economic relief to the businesses and workers whose resilience has been put to the test.

     

    Rebuilding Our Economy for the Future

    At the same time, we must champion longer-term priorities to rebuild and expand our economy and protect our national security for the future.

    As a new government prepares to take the reins, we must prevent a return to excessive regulation or anti-competitive taxes. Remember: before the economic shock of the pandemic, the U.S. economy was healthy and strong—thanks in no small part to pro-business policies and regulatory relief that unlocked growth. Now is exactly the wrong time to further test the resiliency of businesses by hiking taxes or heaping on new regulations that do more harm than good.

    Business creation during the pandemic has been booming, with new business starts up 50% over the past year. We must not hamper this surge in activity with overregulation.

    Moreover, the recent and dramatic acceleration in technology and how we use it will usher in a post-pandemic digital age with limitless economic opportunity. As regulators rush to keep up with these advancements, they must take a light touch and a smart approach to preserve the innovation and growth being driven by the tech sector.

    The Chamber will use every tool at our disposal—including in the courts—to protect our recovery, our competitiveness, and our economic future from the regulatory overreach at home and abroad that could undermine it all.

    Our economic future is also tied to our global engagement.

    In recent years, our resilience has been tested through trade wars and tariffs. However, for America to remain competitive and expand our potential for sustainable growth and prosperity, we must reengage with the world through a bold trade agenda.

    Yes, let’s make more products in America, but let’s also sell them to the rest of the world. We must extend our reach to the 95% of the world’s customers who live beyond our borders. We must catch up to the countries that are inking new trade deals left and right. And we must lift the tariffs that have hurt American manufacturers and farmers and have been paid by American companies and their customers.

    We need to revitalize our alliances, reaffirm American leadership in multilateral organizations like the WTO and WHO, and restore our credibility on the global stage.

    At the same time, we all know that China is the biggest global challenge our nation faces—we must work to stabilize the relationship through strength and cooperation.

    On the one hand, China is by far the largest fast-growing market for U.S. companies. For the good of our own economy, and the world’s, we have to seize those opportunities.

    At the same time, we have to confront the unfair trade and industrial policies that China uses against U.S. companies. We must work with our allies to stand up to China, while also pursuing new negotiations with Beijing to protect our intellectual property.

    It’s right that our government wants to address unfair trade practices. We will be partners in working to level the playing field—not only in China—but other key markets such as India and Brazil.

    Finally, we cannot rebuild a strong and competitive economy without robust national security and sustainable supply chains. In our interconnected world, protecting our physical and digital assets is essential to keeping commerce and information flowing freely, efficiently, and securely.

    That must include cybersecurity. The recent widespread breach of the networks of U.S. agencies and companies by foreign actors was pervasive and sophisticated—and it has the potential to pose a far more sinister threat to our economy and critical infrastructure. The Chamber will continue to push for intelligence sharing between the public and private sectors to identify and mitigate threats from at home and abroad.

    I’ve only scratched the surface on the major issues we will be focusing on this year.

    Government partnership at every level will be key to achieving any of these objectives I’ve touched upon today.

    The decisions of our leaders and lawmakers will determine the strength and the trajectory of our economy.

    And that is why we advocate for the right policies, fight vigorously against the wrong ones, and work constructively to achieve the best results for the businesses that are driving the recovery and will lead us into the future.

    That is the U.S. Chamber’s stock-in-trade.

     

    Conclusion

    It’s true that, at home and abroad, we are operating at a time when people don’t always have a lot of faith in institutions. There’s mistrust in government, questions about the credibility of our democratic systems, contempt for capitalism. For different reasons, these factors have helped drive rising support for nationalism or socialism and other divisions.

    Some even ask if these are signals of national decline.

    Well, to that I say: no one has ever bet against America and won. We have it within us to make this a pivot point in our history.

    We will work with unlikely allies and build new coalitions. We will be willing to find common ground. We will push our leaders to do the right things, and have their backs when they do the hard things. We will we have the courage to take responsible stands on tough issues and the fortitude to see them through. We will have the vision to evolve when it’s necessary and the wisdom to stand our ground when we must.

    If the American business community has the guts and the perseverance to do those things—and we will—then our partners in government and our allies around the world will have to work with us. And working together, we can recover and rebuild, we can reform what’s broken, we can reaffirm our leadership, and we can renew the American promise of equal opportunity for all.

    I fundamentally believe that our nation will pull together, pull through, and emerge stronger.

    How am I so sure? Because all of you—the entrepreneurs, employers, and workers ...the business builders, leaders, and associations of this great country—are going to do it. And the Chamber of Commerce of the United States is here to help.

    A resilient business community drives opportunity, prosperity, security, and advancement. Your work fuels the most dynamic economy in history. You adapt, invest, invent, and innovate for a better future. You find solutions and make deals. And together, we sustain the system built for all of us, by all of us, for the benefit of all of us—free enterprise.

    So I’m asking all of you to join us today. Let’s unite around a mission of helping our nation forward. Let’s make common cause of growth and opportunity. Let’s rally for our recovery—and our future.

    Thank you very much. Now let’s go do it. 

  • 17 Jan 2021 2:27 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Connoisseur Travel signs reseller agreement for Zeno by Serko, plans accelerated rollout of travel booking and expense solution

    Serko Limited (NZX & ASX:SKO), a leader in online travel booking and expense management for business, today announced the signing of Washington, D.C.-based Connoisseur Travel as a Zeno reseller partner for North America. The agreement comes on the heels of a series of 2020 signings expanding Serko’s presence in North America, and brings Zeno’s highly customizable, consumer-grade travel booking and expense platform to Connoisseur customers.

    Connoisseur plans to quickly launch Zeno among its customer base, with 11 implementations in the next 30 days, and another 40 within 90 days. Connoisseur serves many law firms and humanitarian organizations eager to access Zeno’s user-friendly booking platform and enhanced COVID-19 features as employees receive vaccinations and staff travel resumes.

    “Zeno offers the perfect fit for our customers’ wants and needs from an online booking tool and expense management solution,” said Casey Soto, Director of Technology Innovation & Customer Experience for Connoisseur. “We’ve been somewhat hesitant to introduce an OBT to our customers because we didn’t feel any provider in the market could deliver the level of personalization and high standards of service they expect from Connoisseur. With Zeno, that all changed. We feel confident rolling out Zeno to our client base and providing them with access to a solution that will enhance our strong reputation.”

    Some of the features Connoisseur anticipates its customers taking advantage of immediately include:

    • COVID-19 features

    Several features ensure that health and well-being standards are being met, including dynamic trip authorization, custom policy configurations to restrict high-risk travel, consolidated traveler tracking, airline health-related measures (Reassurance Universal Product Attributes), and hotel health and hygiene data.

    • Multi-passenger and guest traveler bookings

    Bookers can seamlessly add multiple travelers – including guests – plus allocate cars and hotels for all travelers in one place, while creating individual PNR bookings for each person.

    • Personalized travel booking

    Zeno learns traveler preferences and recommends tailored end-to-end itineraries, with a user-friendly, intuitive interface and conversational booking flow.

    • Multi-source engine 

    Zeno’s approach to sourcing and displaying content goes well beyond other OBTs by pulling in content from suppliers directly, as well as from NDC, GDS and multiple hotel content aggregators. Travelers and bookers can review flights, including ancillary content, accommodation and transport details the same way they appear on supplier websites, to help make more informed travel decisions on the spot.

    “We can’t wait to hit the ground running, bringing Zeno to Connoisseur’s client base,” said Serko SVP of North America Tony D’Astolfo. “Given the government and humanitarian focus of many of Connoisseur’s customers, we are not only thrilled to bring our best-in-class solution to their organizations in the long term, but to assist in their immediate needs, enabling them to safely and swiftly return to travel and execute their organizations’ missions as easily as possible.”

    Zeno will be available to all Connoisseur Travel clients immediately. For more information on Zeno and its features, visit www.zeno.com.

  • 07 Jan 2021 9:16 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    On January 3, 2021, the government of New Zealand announced that it will be requiring all travelers entering New Zealand from the United States or the United Kingdom to present a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 in order to be allowed into the country. The result must be presented to the airline on a written form and must be certified by a laboratory in the 72 hours prior to departure. This rule takes effect for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm on January 15, 2021. The official announcement can be found here: https://covid19.govt.nz/updates-and-resources/latest-updates/pre-departure-covid-19-test-for-travellers-from-the-uk-from-15-january/  

    Note that New Zealand is specifically requiring submission of a  negative “PCR” test. Other types of tests, such as the rapid test, will likely not be accepted. The announcement above provides information about exemptions to this policy, which are handled by Immigration New Zealand. 

    More questions about tests are answered here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-advice-travellers#ukusa 

    Further information will be made available directly to the airlines and on various government of New Zealand websites, including: https://covid19.govt.nz/travel-and-the-border/travel-to-new-zealand/ 

    As a reminder, most travelers are still prevented from entering New Zealand. The exceptions to this rule are limited and can be found on the NZ Immigration page here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/border-closures-and-exceptions 

    Those that can enter must first stay in a 14-day managed isolation or quarantine facility upon arrival. These facilities must be booked in advance of arrival and spaces are very limited for the coming months. We do not recommend that U.S. citizens make travel plans until they can confirm space in one of these facilities. Visit https://allocation.miq.govt.nz/portal/ for more information. All U.S. travelers will be tested on the first day of arrival and must remain in their rooms in the managed isolation facility until the result of that test is complete. 

    Travel requirements to the United States are currently under review due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to provide updates through this platform. You can also visit http://travel.state.gov for the latest travel guidance to the United States. 

    Actions to Take 

    Visit the Department of State Covid-19 crisis page for the latest information

    Visit 
    the New Zealand Covid-19 website for the most up to date information in New Zealand

    Consult 
    the CDC website for accurate, up to date information 

    For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting Covid-19, please read the CDC’s latest recommendations 

    Consult your airline, cruise line, or other travel operator regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions 

    Visit the United States Embassy in New Zealand website for updated information 

    Visit the Department of Homeland Security website for the latest travel restrictions to the United States 

    Visit the U.S. Department of State COVID-19 Answers Portal. 

    Assistance
    U.S. Consulate General Auckland, Level 3, Citigroup Building, 23 Customs Street East, Auckland 1010
     

    Contact information: +64 09 303 2724, AucklandACS@state.gov  

    State Department Consular Affairs: +1 888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444 

    Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts 

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