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  • 31 May 2017 4:05 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)
    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Travel to Sydney and Wellington

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be in Sydney, Australia, June 5–6, with Secretary of Defense James Mattis to participate in the 2017 Australia-U.S. Ministerial Consultations hosted by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.

    Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Mattis, and their counterparts will discuss the full range of U.S-Australian cooperation on bilateral, regional, and global issues.  The Secretaries will coordinate our policies and identify ways to further strengthen the alliance and deepen cooperation between our two governments.

    The Secretary will then travel to New Zealand to reaffirm our strong ties and discuss coordination on shared strategic interests with Prime Minister English and Foreign Minister Brownlee.

    Follow Secretary Tillerson’s travel to Australia and New Zealand via @StateDept and @USAsiaPacific on Twitter and go to the Department’s Flickr account for the latest trip photos.  Keep track of all of the Secretary’s travels at

    NZ welcomes US Secretary of State visit

    Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee has welcomed the announcement that United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will visit New Zealand next week.

    Secretary Tillerson will meet with Prime Minister Bill English and Minister Brownlee in Wellington on June 6.

    “New Zealand and the United States enjoy a long-standing friendship,” Mr Brownlee says.

    “We share a deep interest in maintaining peace, prosperity and stability in the Asia Pacific region and we have worked closely together to counter terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States is our third-largest individual trading partner.

    “We welcome Secretary Tillerson’s visit as a chance to strengthen the close relationship between New Zealand and the United States, to discuss some of the world’s most pressing issues, and to further promote our economic ties,” Mr Brownlee says.

  • 12 May 2017 4:27 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed Cabinet’s decision to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and says the move shows leadership with Japan who has also ratified the agreement.

    “Cabinet’s decision sends a clear message that we see value in a common set of high-quality rules across the Asia-Pacific and we are keeping all of our options open,” Mr McClay says.

    “TPP remains valuable both economically and strategically. It stands to improve access for New Zealand exporters and lower tariffs around the Asia-Pacific, including Japan, the world’s third largest economy.”

    Ratification comes ahead of the APEC Trade Minister’s meeting in Vietnam later this month where Mr McClay will Co-chair a separate meeting of TPP Ministers.

    “Following the U.S. withdrawal from TPP, our export sector and business community sent a clear message to find a way forward for this valuable agreement and that’s what we have been working hard to do,” Mr McClay says.

    “We are still actively exploring alternative options for TPP and expect other TPP partners to also ratify in the coming months.”

    “There is a building consensus that a common set of high quality rules across the Asia-Pacific will greatly benefit regional economic integration and support openness. High-quality trade deals are a key driver of growth, competition, innovation and productivity that create jobs and lower costs for consumers."

    Note to editors: New Zealand's implementing legislation and regulations only take effect on the date that the Agreement enters into force for New Zealand.


  • 21 Apr 2017 5:42 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    President Donald Trump has announced plans to nominate former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown to be the US ambassador to New Zealand.

    Brown supported Trump during the presidential campaign and had been considered for other administration jobs, including secretary of Veterans Affairs. Brown is a veteran.

    The Senate must confirm the nomination. The White House announced Trump's plans on Thursday.

    Brown represented Massachusetts in the US Senate from 2010 to 2013 after winning a special election to fill the seat held by the late Ted Kennedy, a Democrat.

    Brown then lost the seat to Elizabeth Warren. In 2014, he was the Republican nominee for the US Senate in New Hampshire but lost to incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

    Brown is currently a contributor to Fox News Channel.

    - AP

  • 18 Apr 2017 6:53 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to Hawaii today to meet with senior figures in the United States Pacific Command. Mr McCully will also meet with members of Hawaii’s political leadership, senior academics and opinion makers.

    “The US Pacific Command is responsible for US military operations in over half the world’s surface,” Mr McCully says.

    “Honolulu is a pivotal channel for New Zealand’s views on Asia-Pacific into Washington, D.C. and my visit is an opportunity to emphasise the value of New Zealand-US cooperation in the Asia Pacific.”

    Mr McCully will also inaugurate the New Zealand Consulate-General in Honolulu, which was opened in 2014.

    “New Zealand’s presence in Honolulu has deepened our connections with US military leaders and is a gateway for our engagement with North Pacific countries.”

    Other areas of cooperation with the US in Honolulu include climate change, fisheries, humanitarian aid and disaster risk management.

  • 12 Mar 2017 3:33 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    The new Trade Agenda reinforces the Administration’s commitment to defend American interests through the promotion of truly free and fair trade.

    Washington, D.C. – Today, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative ("USTR") released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda, as required by Congress.

    The 2017 Agenda outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities: promoting U.S. sovereignty, enforcing U.S. trade laws, leveraging American economic strength to expand our goods and services exports, and protecting U.S. intellectual property rights.

    USTR leads development and implementation of the President’s Trade Policy Agenda, which it provides with the Annual Report on trade developments. To read both, please click here.

  • 18 Jan 2017 9:53 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Good evening ladies & gentlemen.  Welcome to this special farewell reception and a Happy New Year to you all.  My name is Derek Syme and I am the president of AmCham in New Zealand.

    Firstly, I would like to welcome our guests of honour Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to our other VIPs here tonight

    • -        His Worship the Mayor, Phil Goff
    • -        Deputy Mayor, Bill Cashmore
    • -        US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Candy Green
    • -        US Consul, Melanie Higgins
    • -        Other diplomatic corps members
    • -        Sir Bob Harvey and Dame Wendy Pye

    I would like to thank EY for allowing us to use their facilities for this evening’s farewell reception for US Ambassador Mark Gilbert and Nancy Gilbert.

    Thank you also to Mike Smith and IBM for your sponsorship of the evening.

    Well it has been a whirlwind 2 years since Ambassador Gilbert & Nancy arrived in NZ.  Without scarcely a pause, they have undertaken their roles with enthusiasm and focus that is second to none.  The Gilbert’s have crammed in so much that it is hard to know where to begin when talking about their great achievements.

    There have been several significant highlights during the Ambassador’s tenure over the last 2 years and I will touch on just a few…:

    • 1)    The visit of US Vice President Joe Biden including a highly successful reception, where the Vice President spoke and met a number of our members. – The night was a real highlight for me as I managed to get a great selfie with the Vice President!
    • 2)    The arrival of the USS Sampson, the first US warship to visit NZ for over 30 years and its key role in assisting with the Kaikoura earthquake, in a time of real need.
    • 3)    The visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to NZ and his trip with the Ambassador to Antarctica.
    • 4)    The signing of TPP in Auckland by USTR Ambassador Michael Froman.  Ambassador Gilbert played a significant role in securing Ambassador Froman to speak to our members following the signing.
    • 5)    The inaugural Air NZ flight & service to Houston where the Ambassador joined the trade mission with Minister Steven Joyce.
    • 6)    We have also had the arrival of United & American Airlines services from San Francisco & Los Angeles, furthering business and tourism links with the USA.
    • 7)    The Ambassador lead highly successful business delegations from NZ to the Select USA Summits in Washington in 2015 & 2016.
    • 8)    The Ambassador and Nancy joined the AmCham board visit to AmCham in Sydney in 2015.  He also played a significant leadership role in the success of AmCham Australia’s visit to NZ late last year and his participation has ensured stronger ties between the two AmChams. 

    He has worked diligently to reach as much of the New Zealand business community as possible, giving his time to speak to social entrepreneurs and tech start-ups, as well as larger corporations and industry groups.

    Ambassador Gilbert has also worked tirelessly to bring together academia, industry and government in order to better facilitate an exchange of knowledge and skills.  This included the visit to NZ of Dr. Dave Newman (NASA’s Deputy Director) and Ambassador Gilbert is following Rocketlab’s progress with keen interest.

    In summary, the ambassadors’ energy levels are truly remarkable and an 8 hour working day is completely irrelevant.

    But it is not all about Ambassador Gilbert, as Nancy has also played an important and significant role supporting him.

    One of Nancy’s highlights was the Wahine Toa leadership conference which brought together 140 Maori women from across the country.  This group held discussions on civic engagement, women’s empowerment, and networking among communities of Maori women and across the Pacific.

    The Gilberts successfully secured President Obama’s Special Assistant for Native American Affairs, Karen Diver, to keynote at the conference and engage with iwi leaders, civil society organizations, youth groups, and parliamentarians throughout New Zealand.

    Nancy is also a big promoter of the tourism relationship, especially with her expertise as a former business owner of a tour company in Florida.  This shone through when the Embassy hosted the “National Parks” IMAX film.

    The Gilberts have also championed the exceptional growth in NZ wine sales to the USA… (please note that Ambassador Gilbert may have been “personally” responsible for significantly increasing those numbers!)

    But it is not just what you have both done during your time in New Zealand…  it is how you have done it…  And on this front, we think its been all class.

    You have not only achieved a huge amount but you have created many lasting friendships along the way.

    For those of you following the Ambassador and Nancy on Twitter you will have seen many accolades flowing from throughout NZ over the last week which shows how much of a difference they have both made.

    They have even found time to pull together a “YouTube” photo montage of everyone they have met in NZ during their time here.  They are without doubt one of the best tour guides and official photographers in NZ, having taken some amazing pictures of NZ’s best scenery.  Perhaps the NZ Tourism Board should seriously consider a consultant’s role for them both in the future!

    The Ambassador and Nancy have lifted diplomacy to a whole new level and while we wish there were “4 more years”, we have to say farewell for now. You will always be welcome back in NZ and we wish you all the very best for whatever the future holds for you.

    We would like to present you with a small token of our appreciation which reads… “In recognition of the outstanding contribution you have made to the United States/New Zealand relations during your time in New Zealand.  You have been a true friend and supporter of New Zealand and AmCham.”

  • 12 Jan 2017 9:24 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)
    Business Community Optimistic, Realistic, and Ready for Meaningful Reform to Reignite Spirit of American Enterprise

    U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue said today in his annual "State of American Business" address that fostering stronger, faster, and more broadly shared economic growth must be the top priority for the nation's leaders. [Link to full text of speech.]

    As he shared the sense of optimism and opportunity felt by the business community at this point of national transition, Donohue urged policymakers to heed the message from America's Main Streets: It's time to reignite the spirit of enterprise through meaningful reform in Washington.

    "At this moment of significant transition for our country, American businesses large and small are optimistic about the year ahead - optimistic and also realistic about the hard work that will be required to make our optimism a reality," said Donohue. "We see a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact major reforms that could transform the American economy from a low-growth to a high-growth economy.

    "That's how we bring the jobs back. That's how we revitalize hard-hit communities. And that's how we give every citizen the opportunity to pursue the American dream," continued Donohue.

    Donohue used the address to unveil and outline the U.S. Chamber's "American Growth Agenda" for 2017, a set of policy priorities on which the Chamber will focus its efforts in order to expand jobs, incomes, and opportunities for Americans through economic growth.

    The U.S. Chamber's "American Growth Agenda" will serve as the foundation for its advocacy efforts in the coming year, informing the organization's work with the new administration and Congress. As the leading voice for free enterprise in America, and for the sake of fostering growth, the Chamber will fight for regulatory relief and reform; for increasing energy production; for modernizing the nation's infrastructure; for overhauling the tax code; for expanding trade; for educating and training an exceptional workforce; and for fixing our legal system.

    Over the course of 2017, the U.S. Chamber will put its "American Growth Agenda" to the test, gathering local chambers, business leaders, entrepreneurs, employers, and employees for a series of regional summits, which are designed to provide a forum for job creators, risk takers, and those in pursuit of the American dream to talk about what they need to succeed - and for policymakers to listen.

    "We're going to create a powerful grassroots business army, made up of businesses of all sizes from all sectors, and ensure that no one can ignore their voice - not in policy, not in politics, not in government, and not in the public square," said Donohue. "The reforms we seek here in Washington - and which we can achieve if we are patient and realistic - can reignite the spirit of enterprise across the nation. If we do that, there is nothing our country cannot achieve."

    To watch Donohue's 2017 "State of American Business" address, please visit our website.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

  • 03 Nov 2016 5:37 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Minister of Trade Todd McClay has welcomed the second reading of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Amendment Bill in Parliament today.

    “TPP is our biggest trade deal to date, and presents a huge opportunity for our economy, adding an estimated $2.7 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP once it has been fully phased in,” says Mr McClay.

    TPP is designed to create a level, transparent, and predictable playing field for trade within the Asia Pacific region. The TPP Amendment Bill includes changes to New Zealand law that will allow New Zealand to ratify the Agreement.

    “TPP sets high standards in many areas. New Zealand is already an open, transparent and trade-friendly country.

    “All primary legislative changes that do need to take place prior to TPP’s entry into force are addressed in the Bill currently before Parliament. The Government’s objective in this process has been to ensure New Zealand complies with its TPP obligations in a manner least disruptive to our current policies and regulations,” says Mr McClay.

    The select committee received 85 written and oral submissions from the public, and 20 of those submissions contained no comment on the drafting of the Bill.

    “The select committee made some important amendments. For example, by making clear that changes to New Zealand law introduced by the TPP Bill will only commence on the date TPP enters into force for New Zealand.”

    The Government expects the Bill to be passed this year. Once the Bill has been passed and other regulatory changes are in place, the Government will be ready to formally ratify the agreement. TPP could come into force by late 2017 or early 2018, once countries have completed their own processes for ratifying TPP.

    For more information on the TPP Amendment Bill and the legislative changes that are being proposed, please refer to the Second Reading speech delivered earlier today before Parliament

  • 18 Oct 2016 9:19 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    United States Navy ship, the USS Sampson, has been given clearance to visit New Zealand next month by Prime Minister John Key.

    “I am pleased to announce that the USS Sampson, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will attend the Royal New Zealand Navy’s International Naval Review in November,” Mr Key says.

    “Under New Zealand’s nuclear free legislation I am required to be satisfied that any foreign military ship entering New Zealand is not nuclear armed.

    “I have granted this approval after careful consideration of the advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

    “New Zealand’s legislation also does not allow ships which are nuclear propelled into New Zealand and the advice I received from officials is that the USS Sampson is not nuclear powered.

    “The process for considering the visit by the USS Sampson is the same as that used for all ships attending the International Naval Review.  This process has been used for all military ships visiting New Zealand since the legislation was enacted.

    “New Zealand looks forward to the USS Sampson’s participation in the International Naval Review to mark the Royal New Zealand Navy’s 75th anniversary. The visit is a further reflection of the depth of the bilateral relationship with the United States,” Mr Key says.

    The International Naval Review is being held in Auckland 17-22 November 2016.