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  • 30 Aug 2019 3:02 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and its alliance partner United Airlines have today launched a major campaign to attract visitors from the USA and encourage them to explore more of regional New Zealand.

    The campaign is the first cab off the rank under a new three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand, designed to ensure New Zealand continues to stand out as a destination on the crowded world stage.

    “Tourism is New Zealand’s top export earner, delivering over $16 billion to our communities each year. Given the global slow down we need to work even harder to keep it that way,” says Stephen England-Hall, Chief Executive of Tourism New Zealand.

    “We need people to choose us and this partnership gives us a stronger voice to cut through tough global competition.”

    Air New Zealand and its alliance partners brought 34 percent of international visitors to New Zealand in the year ended April 2019.

    “A thriving tourism industry is important for both New Zealand and Air New Zealand, and we’re committed to working in partnership with Tourism New Zealand to grow the value of tourism in a sustainable way,” says Christopher Luxon, Air New Zealand’s Chief Executive Officer.

    “This includes promoting travel to New Zealand in spring, winter and autumn and encouraging visitors to experience more regions to help grow regional economies. We know we’ve got a unique tourism proposition, but we’ve got to work really hard to attract international visitors who at the end of the day can opt to visit locations closer to home. That’s why partnerships such as this one are critical for our industry and our economy.”

    The Tourism New Zealand/Air New Zealand MoU outlines an intent to invest up to $30 million each over three years for joint activity in Australia, China, North and South America, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Europe, Korea, India and South East Asia.

    Air New Zealand and Tourism New Zealand have undertaken cooperative marketing activity under an annual memorandum of understanding since 2014. During this time, the value of international tourism to New Zealand has grown from $10.4 billion to $16.2 billion.

    The partnership has resulted in a stronger New Zealand share of voice in large and competitive global markets, as well as collaborative efforts to leverage major opportunities and open up new markets aligned with the expansion of Air New Zealand’s global network.

  • 23 Aug 2019 2:45 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Peter Beck takes out Supreme Award at the 2019 AmCham - DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards for companies doing business with the USA

    Auckland, 22nd August 2019 The 20th annual AmCham DHL Express Success & Innovation Awards were held at the Pullman Auckland Hotel last night, with Rocket Lab’s founder Peter Beck winning the Supreme Award for doing business with the United States.

    AmCham was delighted to welcome the Hon Damien O’Connor as keynote speaker and presenter of the three key exporter awards as well as the newly arrived U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Kevin Covert presenting the Importer of the Year award.

    Mark Foy, Country Manager for DHL Express New Zealand, said: “Peter Beck is an outstanding leading innovator in the space industry, who has grown his company over the last decade to a $2 billion entity today. Peter’s focus on continuous improvement and wanting to improve life on earth is a testament to his achievements. Peter has established strong relationships with the US market, a key trade lane and DHL congratulates him on his success.”

    This year’s finalists came from across a variety of businesses covering gourmet pet food, eco-friendly beauty, butter, heavy equipment, aircraft engine reconditioning, technology, metals recycling, building products, tourism, education, meat, and organic feminine products.

    See all photos from the night.

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

    This years award finalists were some of the strongest AmCham has seen and so the judges awarded Highly Commended certificates to :
    Hawaii Tourism Oceania
    Organic Initiative Ltd
    Pratt & Whitney Air New Zealand Services (trades as Christchurch Engine Centre”)
    The University of Auckland

    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, exporter, tourism and bilateral connections awards categories receive an Economy Plus® Round Trip Ticket to the USA from United Airlines. 

    In addition to AmCham, DHL-Express and United Airlines, the Awards are also supported by ANZ Bank, Auckland Airport, Ironside McDonald Intellectual Property, The Pullman Auckland Hotel, media partner The Business, wine sponsor Constellation Brands and event manager Lime & Soda.

  • 09 Aug 2019 1:40 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Ben & Jerry's is set to give New Zealand a scoop of the American retail experience.

    The American ice cream brand turned retailer will next week open its first cashless ice cream shop at Wellington Airport on August 17. It will trial Amazon Go-inspired payment with the intention of rolling it out to its other retail locations in New Zealand, and overseas.

    Stephanie Tannous, Ben & Jerry's Australia and New Zealand brand lead, said New Zealand had a long-history of payment advances with the early introduction of Eftpos, the roll out of cashless payment systems across toll roads, parking and public transport, which made the capital the right place to trial a cashless store.

    Tannous said the store would improve the customer experience, and free up staff and consumers. She said the store signalled Ben & Jerry's shift to meet consumer demands and advances in technology.

    "Although we know the shift towards an entirely cashless system will require an initial adjustment process for consumers, we are confident with the technological progression in this space," she said.

    "New Zealand is well on its way to being a cashless society already."

    Ben & Jerry's would trial the cashless store for six months, and use findings as a basis for future store decisions, she said.

    Read more

  • 30 Jul 2019 2:53 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    Plexure Group (NZX: PLX) has today signed a deal with United States’ fast-food burger chain White Castle, adding to the momentum reflected in its recently-announced FY19 annual result.

    Plexure offers mobile customer engagement through personalised messaging.

    Often hailed as America’s first fast-food chain, White Castle boasts almost 400 restaurants located across 13 states. Under the terms of agreement, Plexure will provide mobile engagement and loyalty capability through its intelligent marketing platform, helping White Castle strengthen its position in the US.

    Plexure also works with McDonalds Japan and 7 Eleven Australia.

    Chief Executive Craig Herbison says the new partnership is a clear validation of the Company’s hard work, refreshed focus and strengthened proposition.

    “Plexure is delighted to partner with White Castle as a significant US customer and looks forward to powering its marketing efforts. This collaboration is testament to our continued drive to deliver a suite of world-class products and enhanced levels of customer engagement,” 

    “We’re committed to helping White Castle activate mobile as a critical digital channel to its customers, to grow their value whilst enhancing the overall customer experience.”

    Read more

  • 29 Jul 2019 4:32 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    New name – same team! From this month you’ll notice an adjustment to our branding. We’re moving away from the co-branded ATPI Business World Travel to simply ATPI. The move aligns with our other 30 other locations worldwide. ATPI bought our company almost two years ago and so the ATPI dual brand will be familiar to most. Based in the UK, ATPI Advanced Travel Partners International has a significant foothold in the UK and US travel landscape with particular expertise in the business travel, sports, group and events travel as well as sturdy credentials in the executive leisure travel space.  Throughout the US we are branded at Direct/ATPI Travel reflecting our partnership with Direct Travel in the US, making us one of the largest players in the US travel market.  

    We welcome Ms Delwyn Namulo to our team here in Auckland in a Business Development role.  Delwyn has returned to NZ after 20 or so years in the US. Through our enhanced alignment with ATPI we now have the capability to expand our client base and accept new business. If you’d like to talk to us about our ATPI Advantages for your firm’s travel management programme then call Delwyn ( or Grant Bevin.  

    Airline update 

    American Airlines and Qantas have had their trans-Pacific joint venture approved paving the way for more AA/QF code-share flights between Australia/New Zealand and the USA. This will allow AA the opportunity to consider making their AKL/ LAX flight ‘year-round’ instead of the current New Zealand Summer operation in place now. If they can share the risk/reward with Qantas then the route becomes more viable. Alternatively Qantas could operate through the New Zealand winter to the US on behalf of the pair which optimises aircraft usage for both airlines.

    In non-Americas related business travel news, in a bid to improve on-time performance Air New Zealand requires domestic New Zealand travellers to be checked-in (including luggage checked in)latest 30 minutes prior to departure. This is the same protocol JetStar operates. Travellers who are accustomed to checking in at the gate with their phone are no longer being accepted for travel unless you have confirmed your check-in on your app more than 30 minutes prior to departure. It is imperative for this category of traveller that you have taken the 2nd step of pressing the check-in tab on your app.  We recommend that to give you peace of mind and reliability that you physically get an ‘old-school’ boarding card from the valet car drop off, the check in machines or the Koru desk. This removes any chance for doubt from the situation as well as well as the tech-errors many airlines seem to specialise in. Getting to the airport early and through security also makes for relaxed and hassle free travel – allowing you to get on and focus on your business! And to dispel the myth, most airlines don’t care that you running late stuck in a long security line – it helps them with an overbooked flight! 

    A number of clients combine their South American business trip with North America to save on airfares and the time involved with two separate business trips. We have some very good Circle Pacific airfares that allow this. But note that LATAM Airlines is changing its Auckland/Santiago (SCL) schedule from 27 October, reducing its daily service to only 4x weekly. The three missing services will now overfly Auckland and operate non-stop between Santiago and Sydney. LATAM is doing this to provide better connectivity into their One World Alliance partners at Sydney airport where they achieve one-stop routings between Santiago and many SE Asian destinations. This has been a very popular flight for our destination South America clients and our advice is to book very early to secure your seats.

    Fiji Airways has achieved the 4-Star SkyTrax rating putting them alongside neighbours Qantas and Air New Zealand. This rating is quite an achievement for this small regional airline to have achieved. Fiji Airways operates between Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Nadi and offers daily onward connections to Los Angeles (daily) and 3x weekly to San Francisco.  SkyTrax ratings are the benchmark for airlines and allows us to assess an airline as to its suitability for certain types of clients. Skytrax ratings measure the home based airport experience and in-flight offerings, amongst other criteria. 

    Executive Leisure 

    Foodies will love our new Virtuoso partnership and at the same time enjoy a home cooked meal when travelling for business or leisure. We offer in-home local eating experiences around the world – go dine in the home of a local family or go next level and take a cooking lesson whilst dining. Many of the options across many cities in the US are hosted by locally well known chefs or bakers. The options we liked included: 

    • San Francisco – artisanal San Francisco market tour and cooking class
    • Los Angeles – sourdough baking lesson and lunch or dinner
    • New York – vegan Mediterranean cooking lesson in a historic New York Brownstone 

    Ask your usual ATPI Travel Consultant to book your eating with the locals experience.  

    We have the ultimate USA incentive programme for your Marketing or HR Department to consider  for a client or employee promotion.The year everyone has been waiting for...... on February 2, 2020, Miami will host Super Bowl LIV. This must-see location is a favourite of the incentive markets, with beautiful beaches and parties galore, it won't be just the game to attend over this entertainment filled weekend. Our local US offices will be able to offer:

    • Unparalleled access to Super Bowl weekend experiences, including NBA & NHL tickets, cruise on a Luxury yacht for the day and drift by the homes of the ultra-rich, or golf some of the most famous South Florida courses like the Trump National Blue Monster.
    • Pre-game Hospitality Parties with NFL Alumni included in all ticket categories.
    • Access to VIP Super Bowl events, including A-list concerts, celebrity appearances, restaurants, parties, as well as exclusive nightclub experiences on offer.

    Call our Executive Leisure Consultant Tanya Warman in Newmarket for details.  

    Silver Origin, the first ship created entirely for a specific destination by deluxe operator Silversea Cruises, will embark on its first voyage in the Galápagos Islands in July 2020. Never before have the islands been so superbly presented: a team of Ecuadorian national expert guides, the highest crew-to-guest ratio in the Galápagos, 8 Zodiacs, seamless hybrid spaces that offer an extraordinary voyage - for extraordinary people. All-suite accommodation, Horizon Balconies, butler service, sophisticated interiors, interactive basecamp and Ecuadorian inspired cuisine ... no aspect of Silver Origin has been left to chance. Call our ATPI Cruise experts to secure your cabin. 


    With the US populace largely on Summer break right now and business hotels relatively lightly occupied we have a large number of our Virtuoso properties providing our clients additional nights-stay for free – plus you’ll still get the benefit of the Virtuoso amenities listed below. Focus on the value here – its amazing! 

    Travel better! At ATPI/Business World Travel we’re a member of the prestigious US-based Virtuoso, an invited group of the world’s leading travel agents and where we can achieve benefits over and above any other travel agent or booking site for our clients. For a similar level as any advertised rate included on the hotel site, or Expedia you’ll receive:

    • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
    • Daily Breakfast for two 
    • Food & Beverage or Spa services credit usually around US$100 
    • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi
    • Often some other kind of personalised in-room amenity
    • Take a look at or call one of our BWT Travel Advisors

    ATPI Travel  

    Level 5, ANZ Bank Building 187 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland: 0800 508 580  

  • 24 Jul 2019 10:31 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Hon Stuart Nash
    Minister of Revenue
    By Email

    Dear Mr Nash

    Options for taxing the digital economy

    The American Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand (AmCham NZ) understands the public and political interest in ensuring that multinational groups pay taxes in the countries where they operate. We support the overarching principle of ensuring that tax should be levied where value is created.

    Digitalisation poses challenges to the international tax system and it is important to examine whether new value creation factors exist in certain circumstances. All businesses are digitalising and any solutions will therefore impact all business and consumers.

    With this in mind, we support reform of international tax law through the OECD. However, we do not support the unilateral digital services tax proposed in the Discussion Document - Options for Taxing the Digital Economy. It is important that New Zealand works with the other 131 countries who have committed to examine solutions together. A unilateral approach, even on an interim basis, diverts resources and undermines this multilateral approach.

    The United States is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner (after China and Australia) and so its views are important. Economic relations span a wide range of commercial activities, including trade in goods and services, and direct foreign investment across all major sectors from heavy manufacturing to agriculture. The potential weakening of New Zealand’s relationship with the United States and any related trade consequences which could follow due to our implementation of a digital services tax, will likely exceed the expected revenue gains from the tax.

    On this issue, the US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin has said:

    “I highlight again our strong concern with countries’ consideration of a unilateral and unfair gross sales tax that targets our technology and internet companies. A tax should be based on income, not sales, and should not single out a specific industry for taxation under a different standard. We urge our partners to finish the OECD process with us rather than taking unilateral action in this area.” 1 

    New Zealand is not alone in considering a unilateral digital services tax, with legislation recently passed in France and introduced in the United Kingdom. In both cases the United States has immediately responded. 

    In respect of the French digital services tax, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has initiated an investigation under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Announcing the review, the USTR noted that “The United States is very concerned that the digital services tax …. unfairly targets American companies” before going on to say that “The President has directed that we investigate the effects of this legislation and determine whether it is discriminatory or unreasonable and burdens or restricts United States commerce”.

    Regarding the United Kingdom, Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, has commented: “I met with the U.K. officials earlier, and said, ‘You expect a trade agreement with the United States and the U.K. It will not happen with your digital services tax. Period. Full stop.” 2 

    The Section 301 investigation shows that the risk of retaliation by the United States against New Zealand for imposing a DST is more than theoretical or remote. 

    We are deeply concerned that a departure from internationally agreed principles would make investment in New Zealand and the provision of services to people and businesses more costly.

    We encourage the New Zealand Government to maintain its long standing support for a multilateral rules based approach to trade, rather than create new non-tariff barriers. We therefore endorse the continuation of discussions involving NZ, the US and other important stakeholders at the OECD, rather than unilateral measures.

    Yours sincerely

    Mike Hearn
    Executive Director

  • 19 Jul 2019 2:12 PM | Rebecca Caroe (Administrator)

    SimPHARM — software developed at the University of Otago that uses mathematical models of the physiology of body systems to simulate real life reactions to diseases and drugs — has broken into international markets.

    It has been licensed by a US company, Education Management Solutions (EMS), which is responsible for marketing and sales of SimPHARM worldwide. The software has its US launch this week at an American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) event in Chicago.

    The university says this a significant milestone for Professor Stephen Duffull of Otago’s School of Pharmacy who has been developing SimPHARM since 2007. It has been brought to market by the university’s development and commercialisation company Otago Innovation.

    SimPHARM is a web-based program that can be accessed on tablets, laptops or personal computers. Cases (virtual patients) are chosen to suit each student’s stage of learning, and range from very simple medical ailments through to more intricate and complex cases that reflect the complexity of pharmacy practice.

    The university says it is as an ideal training solution for both undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacy education programs.

    “Virtual patients are chosen to suit each student’s stage of learning, and range from very simple medical ailments through to more intricate and complex cases that reflect the complexity of pharmacy practice,” it says.

    “Because SimPHARM operates on a dynamic learning algorithm, every student who runs a [virtual patient] will experience it differently.

    “Early results from the School of Pharmacy students at the University of Otago have shown excellent engagement when using SimPHARM in a flipped class where students are assigned a virtual patient to treat before attending class – similar to (but more exciting than) pre-reading requirements.”

    Duffull said more than 95 percent of students were engaging with virtual patients from SimPHARM prior to training in class.

    “That is a great result and means the vast majority of our students are coming well-prepared with knowledge and skills that reflect their developing decision-making skills.,” he said.

    “These are skills that they have learnt from SimPHARM that closely emulate what they will eventually experience in the real world.”

    Read more

  • 18 Jul 2019 10:58 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Address to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies Washington by The Rt Hon Winston Peters

    16 July 2019 

    ‘Enhanced Pacific Partnerships’

    Good afternoon. Welcome to Ambassadors and representatives from embassies in Washington, D.C. including Ambassador Rosemary Banks and the New Zealand Embassy, as well as US Government officials. Greetings also to members of civil society, academia and the business community, and a particular thanks to Mike Green from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies for hosting this event.  

    We come to Washington with a dual purpose. On Thursday our delegation will be attending the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. As a country that is a strong supporter of freedom of religion or belief, and of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, New Zealand stands with all countries who share this foundation stone of freedom.

    In New Zealand we have also witnessed the debasement of these ideals when a stranger to our country unleashed his cowardly violence on innocent members of Christchurch’s Muslim community peacefully honouring their religious beliefs. We understand, in a way previously unimaginable for ordinary New Zealanders to grasp, the evil consequences of religious hatred and violence.

    That tragedy, however, only reinforces our deeply-held belief in religious tolerance and freedom. So we come to Washington to listen and share our experiences.

    We are especially admiring of the United States and the contribution two of its Founders made to the advancement of religious liberty and democratic freedoms.  

    Thomas Jefferson, who could choose from any number of historical achievements to have chiselled on his tombstone, included instead his authorship of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom.

    As president, Jefferson elaborated on his commitment to freedom of conscience when he addressed the Danbury Baptist Association, saying ‘Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make ‘no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’’

    So, if politics and religion are two subjects usually best left to the conscience of each of us, sometimes the creative fusion of both can lead to freedom’s march for all of us. A good example was James Madison’s study of the early Puritan communities and their eventual fragmentation across the New England landscape.

    Observing that a competitive balance was achieved among rival Puritan communities, one that prevented any one faction from dominating the others, Madison, in Federalist paper No. 10, unfurled the brilliant insight that republican government cast over the extended sphere of an entire continent would similarly achieve a balance of competing voices in the many states to avoid domination by any one particular interest or region over the whole.

    Religious freedom and pluralism are therefore two pillars of the foundations underpinning both United States and New Zealand-styled democracy

    One can also add a third and fourth pillar; namely, respect for, and protection of, human rights and promoting and maintaining the rule of law. Together, these strong foundations see our countries as two of only nine that have held continuous democratic elections since 1854.

    There is a fifth pillar that connects our two democracies. That is the promotion of free and fair trade, which is our second purpose for coming to Washington. This objective is an old one for New Zealand, with former Finance Minister Walter Nash meeting President Roosevelt and members of the US State Department and Treasury in 1939 ‘with a view of paving the way ultimately for a reciprocal trade treaty.’ Some very good things, as is said back in New Zealand, take time, but as we said in Washington last December, time, tide and political change wait for no man or woman. Now is the time to act.  

    At last year’s 6th US-ASEAN summit Vice President Pence conveyed President Trump’s offer ‘to make bilateral trade agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and that will abide by the principles of fair and reciprocal trade.’

    We stand here to say New Zealand is uniquely ready in our fulsome record and attitude to ‘free and fair’ trade to take up the President’s offer.         

    In a December 2018 speech here in Georgetown we laid out our perspective on the geo-strategic rationale for greater US engagement in the Pacific. Six months on we re-affirm the logic of that speech while noting real progress in collaborative efforts among like-minded partners including New Zealand and the US to work together to enhance regional security and developmental assistance in the Pacific.

    For example, last year the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Japan announced a partnership with Papua New Guinea which aims to connect 70% of its population to electricity to the people of PNG - currently only 13% of the population have reliable access to electricity.

    A key point made in the Georgetown Address was that partners need to support each other economically – through free trade and by understanding each other’s economic imperatives – because only by doing so can we achieve our collective ambitions to strengthen the economic engines that drive our mutual ambitions to lead, compete better and, ultimately, see the Pacific region and each other prosper.

    While the geo-strategic rationale remains as strong as ever we’d like to focus today on the economic grounds for advancing a bilateral free trade discussion between our two countries. We want to begin by saying to our friends in Washington that the United States’ limited engagement in trade agreements in the Indo-Pacific is of real concern to New Zealand.

    First, however, let us acknowledge that the Indo‑Pacific region has benefited significantly from the US presence over the last 70 years. Indeed, the US commitment in our hemisphere has brought strategic stability, which has in turn allowed the region to address many of its internal fault‑lines – for example, through the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.  

    That stable presence has allowed countries to focus on improving the living standards of their people, largely through domestic economic reforms, and also through negotiating agreements to reduce and remove barriers to trade and investment.

    These agreements have been achieved through a range of different vehicles. Bilateral agreements have been one important platform for improving prosperity across the region. Examples include the United States’ Free Trade Agreement with Australia, or New Zealand’s FTA with China. 

    Multi‑country agreements have also had their place. The ASEAN Free Trade Area is one example of a successful regional trade and economic agreement. The Comprehensive and Progressive Trans‑Pacific Partnership Agreement – a high quality deal between 11 countries across Asia-Pacific and the Americas – is another. 

    Agreements such as these have a serious impact on patterns of commerce and investment in the Indo‑Pacific. Over the past two decades we have also seen a growing number of countries in the region conclude a significant number of trade and economic agreements with each other, all which reduce barriers to trade and investment between them.

    The upshot is that, for those countries which have engaged in this manner, they are able to move goods, services and investment across each other’s borders with lower costs, and much more business certainty.

    And the converse is also true; for those countries not participating in these negotiations, they are by definition becoming less competitive relative to those countries who are progressively removing barriers to trade and economic activity.   

    While we seriously admire the boundless creativity and innovation that comes out of the United States–particularly your truly amazing ICT companies–the reality is that the United States also remains a huge producer of more traditional goods and services, much of which is destined for export markets.  

    And this is where we have the real concerns for the United States’ future prosperity. While most countries in Asia have been actively negotiating trade agreements between them, with the staggering economic growth of China one obvious symbol of the greater trade engagement seen across Asia, the US has in the last 20 years only negotiated three FTAs in Asia: with Australia, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore. While these are significant countries in the region, they are by no means the biggest economies. In fact, taken together these three countries represent just 12% of Asia’s GDP. 

    We point out that the impact of the US’s post-NAFTA record of concluding trade and economic agreements in Asia is having a serious impact on your share of trade in Asia.   

    The trend of US exports to New Zealand is a case in point. Although New Zealand and the US enjoy a strong economic relationship, the reality is that the United States’ share of exports to New Zealand has been declining. This is consistent with the broader trend for US exports to the Asian region.

    Notwithstanding the fact that US exports to the world have grown by 5.3% on average per year since 1990, the share of United States’ total exports to New Zealand over the same period dropped from nearly 18% to 10%.   

    During that same time, imports from our regional partners with whom we have Free Trade Agreements have grown in relative importance. By example, China’s exports to New Zealand have grown on average by 17% per year, and China's share of total exports to New Zealand has grown from 1% to 20% during that time, becoming our largest source of imported goods. 

    This trend is even more marked for the United States’ share of imports across Asia. In 1990, 17.4% of all goods imported to Asia came from the US. By 2018, that 17.4% had fallen to just 7.4%. That means that the US has lost half of its market share over a 28 year period, and gives you a sense of the significant scale of lost opportunities for US exporters and workers.    

    So, the question becomes: how has this come about, and what can be done to reverse this decline in US exports to New Zealand, and more broadly the Asia‑Pacific region?

    For most economic commentators, the answer is clear. The deteriorating share of US exports has been the result of the growing network of bilateral and regional trade and economic agreements of which the US has not been a part.   

    By example, New Zealand has been at the forefront of negotiating trade agreements across the region. We negotiated an FTA with Singapore in 2001. Thailand followed in 2005. Our first regional FTA with Brunei, Chile and Singapore came into being in 2006, laying the foundation for what ultimately became the CPTPP.   

    In 2008 New Zealand added an FTA with China and our bilateral trade with China has tripled in just 10 years. Our second regional FTA with ASEAN (which also includes Australia) and a separate bilateral FTA with Malaysia were added in 2010. Further bilateral FTAs in North Asia were made with Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Korea in 2011, 2013 and 2015, respectively. 

    Our most recent FTA, the CPTPP, came into being late last year. A new trade and development agreement has also been concluded with the Pacific, called PACER Plus, which we are working to bring into force.   

    As a small trade dependent nation, New Zealand will never rest on its laurels. We have negotiated an upgrade of our original FTA with Singapore; we’re working on an upgrade of our China FTA and starting on an upgrade of our agreement with ASEAN.

    Negotiations are also ongoing for new agreements with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the European Union, the Pacific Alliance, along with a new Digital Economy Partnership Agreement with Chile and Singapore. 

    This is just the trade negotiating activity undertaken by New Zealand. Most other countries in the Asia‑Pacific region have embarked on similar programmes.   

    Bringing this back to the US context: the eventual CPTPP provided the US with a ready‑made platform to reverse the declining share of US exports to the Asia‑Pacific region. Although some were disappointed at the decision to withdraw by US from the TPP, we understand and respect the right of your administration to make this decision. Because until we fixed the shortcomings of the TPP and made it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership many of us in NZ had similar reservations.   

    President Trump has expressed his preference for negotiating trade agreements bilaterally. As was said to Vice President Pence when we met last December, New Zealand is ready to work with the United States to achieve such a breakthrough in our bilateral trade and economic relationship.

    Such an agreement would be beneficial to the United States and New Zealand in its own right. More so, it would have strategic and symbolic importance far greater than the undoubted mutual economic benefits. 

    It would underline the strong friendship between the United States and New Zealand – and signal to our exporters and our investors that our two governments are absolutely committed to further strengthening our bilateral relationship.

    More importantly it would send a signal into the Indo‑Pacific that the US is in the region to stay and provide substance to the President’s offer for free and fair bilateral trade engagement. It would signal that US involvement in the region will be broad and comprehensive, with an ambitious economic programme to mirror the US’s strategic and security objectives.   

    And it would signal to other countries in the region that the US is open for business, and looking to conclude ambitious, high quality and comprehensive free trade agreements with other countries in the region.

    It would also reinforce a noticeable feature of the United States’ trade history during the past three decades. Whether by historical accident or irony, it is a fact that of 16 trade negotiations the US has entered into since 1985, Republican presidents started 12 of them and signed all bar one, marking the GOP as the party most open to pursuing free and fair trade deals.

    To conclude, New Zealand believes there exist compelling geo-political and economic rationales for the United States leadership to shift gears by launching a bilateral trade agreement with New Zealand.

    Over the past two decades, the US-NZ relationship has only grown stronger, more dynamic and more vital. Whether it’s on military co-operation and shared service, people-to-people connections, visa access, or high-level dialogue on vital foreign policy issues, our two countries are much closer than we were at the turn of the century.

    However, one glaring gap remains in an otherwise exemplary bilateral relationship. We have not made the progress on a bilateral trade agreement that we should have. New Zealand wants that to change.

    We earnestly hope the US shares that ambition. For New Zealand’s ability to play its part in promoting our shared values in our part of the world very much depends upon it.


  • 09 Jul 2019 1:56 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    AFT Pharmaceuticals (NZX.AFT, ASX.AFP) has reached an out-licensing and development agreement with US-based Timber Pharmaceuticals [Timber] for the USA, Canada & Mexico for its orphan drugi Pascomer.

    Pascomer (Active ingredient, Rapamycin) is a topical treatment for Facial Angiofibromas in Tuberous Sclerosis. The disease affects over 30,000 patients in the US alone which could potentially be worth US$300+ million in the USA - if clinical studies are successful.

    The first of AFT’s two planned clinical studies in 120 patients is due to start in eight study centres around the world, including the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in the US. Research centres in Australia, Spain, the UK and New Zealand are also taking part in the trial. Results are due in 2020.

    Rapamycin is normally easily oxidised and typically has limited stability in topical formulations. However AFT has developed a formulation that uses a proprietary dermal delivery technology that has overcome these stability issues.

    Extensive pre-clinical development work has been completed and an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) has been approved by US FDA. AFT will run the clinical study program in conjunction with Timber, which will cover both trial costs and direct AFT staff costs for staff involved in the Pascomer development program.

    AFT CEO Dr Hartley Atkinson said the agreement with Timber – US based company specializing in the development and commercialization of dermatology treatments for rare diseases - represents both a significant and exciting opportunity. “The deal we have struck with Timber, mitigates AFT’s research and development risks, while still promising strong returns for the company if the clinical trials proceed successfully,” Dr Atkinson said.

    Timber will cover all clinical trial costs. AFT will receive signing and, provided development proceeds successfully, staged development and registration milestone payments in excess of US$10 million, potential sales milestone payments in excess of US$10 million and ongoing sales-royalty payments. At this early stage of the financial year and with the timing uncertainty of the development, AFT will leave its present operating profit guidance for FY2020 at NZ$9-12m.

    “We are looking forward to the start of clinical trials. We are excited to have secured prestigious clinical trial sites such as the Mayo Clinic in the US, Children’s Health Queensland in Brisbane, Clinica Universidad de Navarra in Spain and Christchurch Hospital.

    “Facial angiofibromas are a disfiguring condition affecting patients from childhood. So, a successful Pascomer development will offer an important therapeutic option to these sufferers,” Dr Atkinson said.

    As part of the agreement, AFT has also taken 100% control of the original partnership set up for development of Pascomer, DSLP

    In a series of transactions covered by the agreement, DSLP joint venture partner Tardimed (formerly named Medicas), which is the majority shareholder in Timber, transferred its share in the DSLP partnership to AFT.

    Under the terms of the deal Timber, in addition to its sales of Pascomer in North America , will also earn a 50% share of DSLP’s net royalties outside North America, Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia.

    Timber President, Zach Rome said: “AFT’s dermal delivery technology coupled with Pascomer is potentially a significant breakthrough for people with facial angiofibromas. We are delighted to be working with Hartley and his team to take this treatment to market in North America.”

    source: AFT Pharmaceuticals.

  • 05 Jul 2019 11:04 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Air New Zealand’s Gas Turbines business has won a fourth significant contract to service ten additional US Navy LM2500™ Power Turbines.

    The latest contract, worth more than USD$17 million, will see the Auckland-based Gas Turbines team carry out maintenance on the LM2500™ Gas Turbines which power the US Navy's cruiser fleet.

    The Air New Zealand Gas Turbines business has secured USD$80 million of confirmed work covering 39 engine units since the power turbine contracts were first opened for tender by the US Navy in 2017.

    To date, the Gas Turbines business has delivered seven overhauled units back to the US Navy, with 13 units currently in work and another nine onsite ready for induction. The 10 additional units awarded in the latest contract will arrive in New Zealand late August and the overall body of work is expected to conclude in 2021.

    Air New Zealand’s Chief Ground Operations Officer Carrie Hurihanganui says the contracts are competitively bid for and the win only solidifies the airline’s longstanding relationship with the US Navy.

    “This fourth contract win is a credit to the Gas Turbines team and further strengthens our to more than 20-year relationship with the US Navy. It’s a clear indicator of the calibre of work the team produces.”

    Air New Zealand Gas Turbines is a business unit of Air New Zealand and a General Electric “Authorised LM2500™ Service Provider” providing LM2500™ gas turbine overhaul and repair services to clients globally across a range of industries. The business began sourcing work in the industrial and marine sector more than 35 years ago and has since supported several of the world’s navies, offshore oil and gas platform operators and power generation companies.

    Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.