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  • 10 Jan 2014 2:28 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue issued the following statement applauding the introduction today of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act, which will renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA):

    “TPA is a vital tool to help Americans sell their goods and services to the 95% of the world’s customers living outside our borders. The Chamber congratulates Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, Ranking Member Orrin Hatch, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, whose bill promises to spur economic growth and job creation at home.

    “In today's tough international markets, we need our trade negotiators to tear down the foreign tariffs and other barriers that too often shut out U.S products. However, to secure new growth-creating trade pacts such as the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic agreements now under negotiation, Congress must first approve TPA.

    “While the Constitution gives the president authority to negotiate with foreign governments, it gives Congress authority to regulate international trade. TPA squares this circle: It directs Congress to set negotiating objectives and requires the executive branch to consult extensively with Congress during negotiations. The result should be a true partnership stretching the length of Pennsylvania Avenue.

    “TPA is the Chamber's top trade priority before the Congress. We look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill as well as the administration to secure TPA's renewal as soon as possible.”
  • 11 Dec 2013 12:23 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Trade Minister Tim Groser today welcomed the significant progress made during the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Ministerial meetings in Singapore over the last four days. 

    Speaking at the press conference where Ministers responsible for TPP negotiations spoke about the progress achieved, Mr Groser said, “I am pleased to report that we have substantially advanced the negotiation here in Singapore.  My colleagues and I were able to make good progress across the negotiating agenda, keeping true to the objectives Leaders have set for the negotiation.  In many areas we have identified potential landing zones that will guide the final phase of work.”

    While more work remains to be done, Mr Groser said that momentum is accelerating in the negotiation and he was confident that conclusion of a comprehensive, high quality, 21st century agreement was in sight. 

    “However, we will not short change ourselves.  We will take as long as needed to achieve a deal that eliminates trade barriers for New Zealand exporters and can advance our vision of regional economic integration in the Asia Pacific.  The gains a high quality TPP would generate for the New Zealand economy demand we get this right.”

    TPP Ministers and negotiators have agreed to next meet in January

  • 11 Dec 2013 12:21 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    We, the Ministers and Heads of Delegation for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam, have just completed a four-day Ministerial meeting in Singapore where we have made substantial progress toward completing the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

    Over the course of this meeting, we identified potential “landing zones” for the majority of key outstanding issues in the text. We will continue to work with flexibility to finalize these text issues as well as market access issues.


    For all TPP countries, an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement that achieves the goals established in Honolulu in 2011 is critical for creating jobs and promoting growth, providing opportunity for our citizens and contributing to regional integration and the strengthening of the multilateral trading system.


    Therefore, we have decided to continue our intensive work in the coming weeks toward such an agreement. We will also further our consultations with stakeholders and engage in our respective political processes.


    Following additional work by negotiatiors, we intend to meet again next month.

  • 31 Oct 2013 2:45 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Today the White House announced the nomination of Mark David Gilbert of Palm Beach, Florida to be the next American Ambassador to New Zealand and to the Independent State of Samoa. The nomination will now go to the U.S. Senate for consideration. If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Gilbert would become the 22nd American Ambassador posted in Wellington.

    Mr. Gilbert has worked for many years in the investment banking sector and is currently director of Barclays Bank in Palm Beach. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he earned a degree in finance from Florida State University in Tallahassee. He has been involved in a variety of charitable and fundraising activities, and currently serves on the Sundance Institute’s Utah Advisory Board.

    My research reveals that Mr. Gilbert would be the first Major League Baseball player ever to sit in the chair I now occupy. He was drafted out of college by the Chicago Cubs and played for several years on teams affiliated with the Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago White Sox. His Major League debut was in 1985 as a pinch hitter with the White Sox. While in the minor leagues, he was honored as the Cincinnati Reds (Indianapolis) AAA Rookie of the Year, and as Chicago Cubs (Quad Cities) Player of the Month, which netted him his own Topps Baseball Card.

    I have spoken with Mr. Gilbert on a several occasions, and I look forward to tracking his confirmation process. If confirmed, he would be joined in Wellington by this wife, Nancy. The couple has two adult daughters, Danielle and Elizabeth.

    Ambassador David Huebner

  • 10 Oct 2013 11:14 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    We, the Leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam, are pleased to announce today that our countries are on track to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations.  Ministers and negotiators have made significant progress in recent months on all the legal texts and annexes on access to our respective goods, services, investment, financial services, government procurement, and temporary entry markets.  We have agreed that negotiators should now proceed to resolve all outstanding issues with the objective of completing this year a comprehensive and balanced, regional agreement that achieves the goals we established in Honolulu in 2011, ensures the benefits of the agreement are fully shared, and takes into account the diversity of our levels of development.

    A final Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement must reflect our common vision to establish a comprehensive, next-generation model for addressing both new and traditional trade and investment issues, supporting the creation and retention of jobs and promoting economic development in our countries.  The deepest and broadest possible liberalization of trade and investment will ensure the greatest benefits for countries’ large and small manufacturers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers, as well as workers, innovators, investors, and consumers.

    We see the Trans-Pacific Partnership, with its high ambition and pioneering standards for new trade disciplines, as a model for future trade agreements and a promising pathway to our APEC goal of building a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.  We are encouraged by the growing interest in this important negotiation and are engaging with other Asia-Pacific countries that express interest in the TPP regarding their possible future participation.

    Stakeholders across the region have provided valuable input to TPP negotiating teams both on-site at rounds and in our respective countries.  As we work to conclude these negotiations, we will further intensify consultations with stakeholders to craft a final agreement that appropriately addresses the interests of our citizens. We look forward to review and consideration of the outcome of our work, consistent with each of our domestic processes.

  • 09 Aug 2013 9:34 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Prime Minister presents awards at gala ceremony celebrating

    New Zealand – United States trade relationship

     Auckland, 8 August 2013 undefined The 14th annual AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards have been held this evening at the Pullman Auckland Hotel, with Greenshell New Zealand winning the Supreme Award for trade with the United States.

    Greenshell New Zealand manufactures a range of innovative products marketed under the award winning Ikana brand, which add value to its organically grown Greenshell™ Mussels. The products are targeted at retail and foodservice sectors in key export markets, most notably the USA. The company is a family owned business which is transforming itself from mussel farm to branded food company.

    “Greenshell New Zealand is an excellent case study of how New Zealand companies can evolve from commodity suppliers to added value exporters, selling premium products to customers around the world who are prepared to pay for them. The judges were highly impressed by the company’s disciplined and structured approach as it made this critical leap. Their new customer led business model has been responsible for a range of highly successful differentiated products, as well as clever market targeting and segmentation, backed up by high quality branding and packaging,” said Stephen Titter, Awards judge.

    AmCham was delighted to welcome Prime Minister John Key to his first AmCham Awards dinner where he presented the three exporter awards.

    Tim Baxter, country manager DHL Express New Zealand, who announced the supreme winner said, “In the transformation of their business, Greenshell has embodied the spirit of innovation, which is what we’re celebrating here tonight. In addition, the calibre of the category winners is incredibly high, which bodes well for forging successful business relationships between New Zealand and the US.”

    The Supreme Award is chosen from the winners of each of the categories presented on the night. The complete list of winners follows:

    • Importer of the Year from the USA: Cavit & Co Ltd
    • Investor of the Year to or from the USA: Foley Family Wines
    • Exporter of the Year – under NZ$500,000: C-Dax Ltd 
    • Exporter of the Year – NZ$500,000 – 5 million:  Greenshell New Zealand Ltd
    • Exporter of the Year – over NZ$5 million: Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd
    • Trevor Eagle Memorial Award – AmCham Supporter of the Year: Stephen Titter
    • Supreme Award Winner:  Greenshell New Zealand Ltd

    The AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards celebrate success and innovation in the export, import and investment sectors between New Zealand and its third-largest trading partner, the USA.  Winners of the importer and exporter categories receive a return economy Class ticket on Hawaiian Airlines from Auckland to one of the following destinations of their choice: Honolulu, Maui, The Big Island, Kauai, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento or New York.

    In addition to AmCham, DHL-Express and Hawaiian Airlines, the Awards are also supported by Baldwins, Fonterra, Prescient Marketing & Communications and Unlimited magazine.

    Other previous winners of the Supreme Award include Zespri International, Specialist Marine Interiors, Peace Software, Airways Corporation, HumanWare, Tenon, Orion Systems International, Zeacom and Pratt & Whitney Air New Zealand Services t/a Christchurch Engine Centre, Buckley Systems and Vista Entertainment.

  • 02 Aug 2013 10:34 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    By BM, IPR Enforcement, NZ music industry

     This article highlights the Report of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, published on behalf of The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property by the National Bureau of Asian Research, May 2013.

     The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property is an independent and bipartisan initiative of leading Americans from the private sector, public service in national security and foreign affairs, academe, and politics1.

     The three purposes of the Commission2 are to:

     ·         Document and assess the causes, scale, and other major dimensions of international intellectual property theft as they affect the United States

    ·         Document and assess the role of China in international intellectual property theft

    ·         Propose appropriate U.S. policy responses that would mitigate ongoing and future damage and obtain greater enforcement of intellectual property rights by China and other infringers

     The report was written by several leading Americans from a wide range of industries and experience3; from the two co-chairs; Admiral (Rtd.) Dennis C. Blair and Jon M. Hunstman Jr, Slade Gorton (former U.S. Senator, the State of Washington), Craig R. Barrett (former CEO Intel Corporation) to Michael K. Young (President of the University of Washington).

     The article was written to publically highlight the contemporary issues facing the United States of America (USA) in relation to the widespread theft of American intellectual property (IP) of an estimated value of hundreds of billions of dollar (US) per year4.

     The USA has been the significant leader in the development, support and commercialisation of IP since the Industrial Revolution but has recently noticed substantial financial losses from IP theft across all sectors (public/private) but significantly from technology and defense IP.

     While the Report clearly identifies the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) as the current primary infringer, other emerging economic powers such as Russia, India and other weak Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) environments are also contributing to the overall impact.

     The question was asked; why does China stand out5? As China is funding a staggeringly comprehensive national development program, a large portion of new capabilities and technologies has been rapidly secured through the legal purchase, licencing and support of foreign IP. Unfortunately the current IPR environment in China and that of general attitudes to foreign IP (significantly American) have led to the well-documented instances of transfer by direct theft, espionage and/or counterfeiting of physical goods. Foreign IP is extremely difficult to protect and to seek enforcement against within the Chinese legal framework, which is heavily biased towards Chinese companies and local IP.

     "The Commission regards changing the cost-benefit calculus for foreign entities that steal American intellectual property to be its principal policy focus6", this means changing the underlying conditions that allow unchecked IP theft to be profitable. The view is held that it must become so unprofitable to potential IP thieves not just in monetary terms but from the denial of potential access to US markets, finances, international trade programs etc.

     The Commission also stated three sets of recommendations that are based on future timeframes and escalating commitment both internally of and externally to the USA and the wider global community7.

    Short-term measures, including:

     ·         Designate the national security advisor as the principal policy coordinator for all actions on the protection of American IP

    ·         Strengthen the International Trade Commission's 337 process to sequester goods containing stolen IP

    ·         Increase Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation resources to investigate and prosecute cases of trade-secret theft, especially those enabled by cyber means

     Medium-term measures, including:

     ·         Amend the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) to provide a federal private right of action for trade-secret theft

    ·         Instruct the Federal trade Commission (FTC) to obtain meaningful sanctions against foreign companies using stolen IP

    ·         Strengthen American diplomatic priorities in the protection of American IP

     Long-term measures, including:

     ·         Build institutions in priority countries that contribute towards a "rule of law" environment in ways that protect IP

    ·         Develop a program that encourages technological innovation to improve the ability to detect counterfeit goods

    ·         Develop IP "centers of excellence" on a regional basis within China and other priority countries

     While these measures are by no means limited to those above or cast in stone, this report articulates a need for the USA and its’ key trading partners to seriously consider systemic changes to reduce and mitigate the effects of IP theft beyond specific legislation and industry-focused programs.

     IP underpins all manufacturing, all devices, and all things; from medicines, household white goods, automotive parts, battlefield communications systems, environmental control hardware, IT software, recorded music etc., and will only increase in strategic importance as the global economy becomes more interconnected, utilised and competitive.

     Whether we like it or not, the future of New Zealand from an economic/security perspective is inexorably linked to the United States of America and the Peoples’ Republic of China; as both as serious foreign investors in our nation, their internal markets have been targeted for increased access by NZ developed products/services and both are the Pacific region powerbrokers.

     Any efforts on behalf of the United States of America to protect their IP can only be beneficial for New Zealand both directly from an internal IPR compliance perspective and as an end-consumer market, both now and well into the future.

     To read the full report, go here.

     References:

     1 http://www.ipcommission.org/mission/index.html

    2 http://www.ipcommission.org/mission/index.html

    3 http://www.ipcommission.org/Commissioners/index.html

    4 Page 1, Executive Summary, the Report.

    5 Page 3, Executive Summary, the Report.

    6 Page 4, The Commission's Strategy, the Report.

    7 Page 4, Recommendations, the Report.

  • 10 Jul 2013 7:33 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    AUCKLAND, 10 July, 2013 – The American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand has today announced the finalists for the 2013 AmCham-DHL Express Success and Innovation Awards, the 14th year of these awards celebrating success and innovation for companies doing business with the USA.

    Mike Hearn, Executive Director for AmCham, says 2013 has seen another strong group of entrants, covering diverse range of products and services.  These include cars, furniture, technologies, plant research, foods, liquor, agricultural equipment, healthcare devices, wind turbines, biotech and tourism.   

    “I am always amazed at the success so many innovative New Zealand companies are having in the US market and while trade with the USA continues to run around $9 billion pa, we are still seeing a great deal of interest by New Zealand companies looking to establish themselves there” says Mr Hearn.

    Tim Baxter, country manager DHL Express New Zealand further highlights the interest in the US market.

    “In the recent Export Barometer survey conducted by DHL, it found that the US was the second major export destination behind Australia. Fifty per cent (50%) of exporters shipped goods there in the last 12 months.

    “Despite the challenges of the strong kiwi dollar it is very encouraging to see these innovative companies making headway in this market. And we do everything we can to support exporters with our dedicated team of US trade lane specialists at DHL,” says Mr Baxter.

    The finalists are:

    Importer of the Year

    -          BMW Group New Zealand Ltd

    -          Cavit & Co Limited

    -          First In Ltd

    Exporter of the Year to the USA $1 to $500,000

    -          C-Dax Ltd

    -          Merlot Aero

    -          Plant Research NZ Ltd

    -          TranscribeMe

    -          Vend

    Exporter of the Year to the USA $500,001 to $5m

    -          Anagenix Ltd

    -          Escape International Ltd

    -          Greenshell New Zealand Ltd

    -          SnapComms

    -          Windflow Technology

    Exporter of the Year to the USA over $5m

    -          Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd

    -          Independent Liquor (NZ) Ltd

    -          Jack Links New Zealand Ltd

    -          Mount Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd

    -          TRU-TEST Ltd

    One of the above will be chosen as the Supreme winner.  Each of the above winners receives an receives a return economy Class ticket on Hawaiian Airlines from Auckland to either, Honolulu, Maui, The Big Island, Kauai, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento or New York.

    Two other awards will be presented on the night:

    Investor of the Year to or from the USA

    -              Emulex Inc

    -              Fletcher Building Ltd

    -              Foley Family Wines

    -              Plant & Food Research

    AmCham Supporter of the Year

    The awards will be presented at a black tie gala dinner at the Pullman Hotel Auckland on 8th August. For details and tickets see www.amcham.co.nz

    In addition to AmCham, DHL Express and Hawaiian Airlines, the awards are supported by Baldwins, Fonterra and Prescient Marketing & Communications.

    Previous winners of the Supreme Award have included Zespri International, Peace Software, Airways Corporation, HumanWare, Tenon, Orion Health, Zeacom, SMI Group, Fonterra and Pratt & Whitney Air New Zealand Services t/a Christchurch Engine Centre, Buckley Systems and Vista Entertainment.

  • 27 May 2013 11:04 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Lima, Peru – During the 17th round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which ended today, officials reported that they continued to forge ahead toward their goal of concluding an ambitious 21st-century agreement in the timeframe envisioned by President Obama and the Leaders of the other ten TPP countries. Through the TPP, the United States is seeking to advance a next-generation trade and investment agreement that will enhance U.S. competitiveness, expand U.S. trade in the Asia-Pacific region, and support the creation and retention of U.S. jobs, while at the same time promoting labor rights, environmental protection, and transparency.

    In their work during this 10-day round, negotiators were guided by the plan of action agreed by the trade ministers from the United States and the other TPP countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam – when they met last month on the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Surabaya, Indonesia. In line with that plan and the direction of ministers to find pragmatic solutions to outstanding issues, the negotiators made progress across the agreement. The negotiating groups covering services, government procurement, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, trade remedies, labor, and dispute settlement moved their work forward significantly. The TPP countries also successfully advanced work on the other legal texts, including technical barriers to trade, e-commerce, rules of origin, investment, financial services, intellectual property, transparency, competition, environment and other issues. On the more challenging issues of intellectual property, competition, and environment, negotiators had productive discussions and agreed on next steps to continue their work. 

    In addition, negotiators made further progress on building the comprehensive packages that will provide access to their respective markets for industrial, agricultural and textile and apparel products, services and investment, and government procurement. They moved forward in constructing tariff packages and rules of origin, reflecting input from stakeholders on how best to promote trade and regional integration that would benefit the companies and workers in the United States and the other TPP countries. 

    The 11 TPP countries discussed plans for smoothly integrating Japan into the TPP negotiations. Japan will join the negotiations following the successful completion of current members’ respective domestic processes. With Japan’s entry, TPP countries will account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about one-third of all world trade.

    On May 19th, the TPP negotiations were temporarily suspended so negotiators could meet with the 300 stakeholders from the United States and other TPP countries. Stakeholders presented views to negotiators on a wide range of issues under discussion in the TPP, and met informally with U.S. and other negotiators to provide further input to them. Barbara Weisel, U.S. chief TPP negotiator, and the chief negotiators from the other 10 countries also briefed stakeholders on the status of the negotiations and responded to their questions on specific issues and the process going forward.

    Ministers from the TPP countries will continue to engage regularly over the coming months to guide the negotiators’ work, find solutions to outstanding sensitive issues, and ensure that the negotiations achieve the TPP Leaders’ objective of a high-quality, ambitious, and comprehensive agreement this year. Meanwhile, the negotiating teams agreed on detailed intersessional work plans so that the momentum achieved during this week’s round in Lima can be maintained.

    The 18th round of TPP negotiations will be held in Malaysia from July 15th-25th.

  • 27 May 2013 11:01 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Thank you for being here.

    It's great to be back in Washington, and to see so many friends of New Zealand here today.

    I attended the first of these forums in April 2006 and each subsequent gathering.

    I want to reflect briefly on how the role of this Forum has changed, just as the NZ/US relationship has changed and continues to change.

    In thanking all of those who have contributed to the success and evolution of this gathering over the past seven years, it is only honest to observe that the Forum was created at a time when the formal relationship between our two countries was suboptimal.

    The Forum in 2006 was a vehicle to supplement it.

    In particular I want to thank our American friends who gave up their time and spent their capital in order to invest in the NZ/US relationship.

    And I want to acknowledge the significant role the Forum has played in achieving the substantial transition in NZ/US relations that has occurred in recent years.

    We live in a different world in 2013.

    Formal relations between our two countries are excellent.

    We have found a new normal.

    Last year we hosted 100 marines in New Zealand to thank the US for your support at a critical time in World War II and to engage in several weeks of exercises.
    Joint exercises are now routine.

    And this month, for the first time in nearly 30 years, a New Zealand Navy vessel will visit a US military port in Guam - another milestone in the normalisation of that aspect of NZ/US relations.

    So unlike some previous occasions, I do not intend to talk at length about the relationship.

    Just as couples tend to spend a good deal of time talking about their relationship when they have issues, I do not intend to do so, because we do not have issues.

    Just as the formal relationship is now one in which we spend our time talking about the opportunities to work together and add value, so too must the role of this Forum change.

    That is especially true as we stand at the threshold of TPP, as my colleague Tim Groser will discuss tomorrow.

    So I want to reflect very briefly on a few of New Zealand's wider foreign policy concerns and focus on how our two countries are adding value, and can continue to add value, by working together.

    First I want to identify, especially for American friends, just how much New Zealand has changed in the seven years since this Forum first met in 2006.

    For all of our history we have regarded our geography - far away from our traditional markets in Europe - as our major strategic disadvantage.

    Now we live in the Asia Pacific Century and our geography, on the rim of Asia, has become our major strategic advantage.

    Seven years ago our exports to China were less than NZ$2 billion, well behind Australia and the US.

    Today, our exports to China top NZ$7 billion, and in the first quarter of 2013 they actually passed, temporarily I am sure, exports to our largest market, Australia.

    In South East Asia our exports are nearly NZ$4.5 billion a year - about the same as the US, but rising sharply from NZ$2.9 billion in 2006.

    In both cases, China and ASEAN, high quality FTAs have provided the impetus.

    But the improvements in trade and economic relations have also been mirrored by a boost to diplomatic relations, and in education, tourism, cultural and sporting exchanges.

    We invest heavily in our diplomatic relations in the region and are unashamedly proud of our good relationships.

    In that sense I should acknowledge that being small certainly helps - but to the word small I hope we could add others, like professional, respectful, constructive and friendly.

    I know that some will ask whether success in our relationship with China has been at the cost of our commitment to core values like democracy and human rights, or to important matters like the contested South China Sea.

    I want to be clear that we do not try to paper over differences in our perspectives on such issues.

    We discuss them openly and honestly - but respectfully and constructively.

    Where we have different methods of working, we try to understand each other.

    That is the reason we now partner with China in an aid project in the Pacific, and have agreed to discuss wider development cooperation.

    We have been extremely supportive of the US decision in recent years to invest more heavily in Asia, and especially the decision to join the regional conversations at the East Asia Summit.

    And we believe the decisions we have both made to become more invested in Asia provide a range of new opportunities for close cooperation.

    This sort of cooperation will be a key feature of my meeting with Secretary Kerry today, as it will be at the NZ/US Strategic Dialogue among senior officials later this week.

    We believe that closer US engagement in Asia, including through TPP, will make the region both more prosperous and more secure.

    Elsewhere in the world there are also opportunities for us to add value through greater cooperation.

    The existing high level of cooperation in the Pacific, in South East Asia, in Afghanistan, in Antarctica and the Ross Sea, is well known to this audience.

    But I hope the enhanced dialogue we now have will see us cooperate in new places.

    Here I do not mean to gloss over the obvious differences in size and weight.

    I want to acknowledge the obvious but often unstated fact that the world so frequently expects the US as the only global superpower to carry the cost, both in cash and in casualties, of preserving stability and security in the trouble spots of the world.

    But just as there are so many things that only the US can do because you are large and powerful, there are others that countries like New Zealand can do only because we are not.

    I take this opportunity to commend Secretary Kerry for the significant attention he has brought to the Middle East Peace Process.

    New Zealand has, with others, been calling for the strongest US leadership on this matter, as the window for a two-state solution draws dangerously more closed.

    But we are not asking you to do it alone.

    We all have a huge stake in defusing the dispute that carries the seeds of wider conflict in the region and beyond.

    New Zealand has been engaged in the MFO, maintaining peace in the Sinai for over 30 years, and one of our generals is currently in command.

    We are engaged in a demining project on the West Bank, because we have worked hard to maintain the trust of both Israelis and Palestinians.

    We even provide rugby coaching to teams in both Jerusalem and Ramallah.

    New Zealand and many other countries want to actively support Secretary Kerry in finding a way to achieve a two-state settlement in the Middle East in the narrow window that is left.

    Finally, I turn to our own region, the Pacific.

    Making our contribution to maintaining stability and security in a Pacific that suffers significantly at the hands of both the Global Financial Crisis and climate change is a major preoccupation.

    The region consumes around 60 per cent of our aid budget and a good deal of diplomatic time and energy.

    A leadership role in the Pacific is a key aspect of our international personality, and an essential element of our value proposition to our friends and partners.

    Our key objective in recent months has been to move the region from about 5 per cent of electricity generated from renewable means to around 50 per cent in the next five years.

    Currently diesel to generate electricity makes up around 10 per cent of the GDP of Pacific countries and around 25 per cent of their total import bills.

    In partnership with the EU, we have just hosted a conference of donors to assemble NZ$635 million to support the 40 projects that would move the region close to the 50 per cent mark.

    Maintaining security and stability in the region is a responsibility we share especially with our Australian friends.

    With partners, we have now completed lengthy commitments in both the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste, with the focus now moving from security to development.

    We currently chair the Forum's Ministerial Contact Group on Fiji.

    We visited Suva last month and will visit again in July.

    I am confident there will be elections in Fiji in 2014 - the question now being asked is whether they will be free and fair.

    We continue to walk the fine line that sees us remaining engaged and supporting the elections process, whilst continuing to ask the questions the international community would expect to be asked about the quality of that process.

    This is indeed a complex task, and it is pleasing that our region remains able to deal with such a significant challenge in such a cooperative way.

    We have worked very closely with the US over the past two years to complete the US Pacific Tuna Treaty re-negotiation.

    We are almost there.

    A healthy tuna fishery is arguably the most valuable asset the region currently owns.

    Around US$2.8 billion per year of tuna is taken from the EEZs of the 14 Pacific nations.

    Around US$200 million finds its way back to the nations that own the resource.

    We are working hard to improve these percentages and the US Tuna Treaty will be an important step in that direction.

    About US$500 million of tuna a year is taken from the Pacific zone illegally.

    The US, in cooperation with Australia, France and New Zealand, plays an important part in improving surveillance and management of the region.

    New Zealand greatly values the more prominent US interest in the Pacific Islands.

    The attendance of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' meeting in the Cook Islands last year was a powerful signal of US engagement in the region.

    I look forward to my discussions with Secretary Kerry later this morning, where cooperation in the Pacific features on our agenda, including of course, this year's Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' meeting, which will take place in Majuro, in the Marshall Islands, one of the US Compact states.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have come a long way in the seven years since this Forum first met.

    With TPP on the horizon there is a long way further to go.

    I wish you well in your deliberations today.