Opening Doors to China 2012
Monday, July 02, 2012
The Council delegation to Harbin, South Taranaki’s Sister City, returned recently after a hectic week long visit.
The main purpose of the visit was to open the new South Taranaki Office in Harbin, which the Harbin Municipal Government offered the Council, rent free for three years, and is being run by a South Taranaki company, JCNZ Focus (so there is no cost to the ratepayer) which has strong cultural and commercial links to China.
The office will be a conduit for South Taranaki and New Zealand businesses to develop trade and tourism opportunities in Harbin and greater China.
For example, a South Taranaki business may want to import or export goods into China - our political relationship with Harbin enables our office to put them in touch with the right people. In China, having a strong relationship with government officials is absolutely vital.
As the world’s second largest economy and second largest importer of New Zealand goods, China presents huge opportunities for New Zealand and South Taranaki businesses. However, doing business in China is not easy. Apart from the obvious language barrier, it can be very difficult to negotiate the Chinese bureaucracy. That’s where our Sister City relationship with the Harbin Municipal Government is so important.
Following the South Taranaki office opening, the delegation also attended the signing of an agreement of Tourism Cooperation between the Heilongjiang International Commercial Travel Agency and JCNZ Focus. The travel agency, which lies in the heart of the city CBD will actively promote NZ and South Taranaki to the Harbin tourist market.
Mayor Ross Dunlop also lead discussions with the Directors of the Harbin Agricultural Commission and the Livestock Bureau. The meeting raised a number of potential areas of trade including beef and lamb imports,
agricultural training, technology and processes (e.g. traceability processes) and quality breeding programmes.
The next step is that our Council officials will draw up a programme of specific trade and cultural activities which the two districts can work cooperatively towards.
Harbin, a city of some 5 million people in North East China and South Taranaki have had a formal Sister City agreement since 2005.
Of the nine people in the delegation, only four had their trips paid for by the Council and while in Harbin, the City Government paid all food, accommodation and transportation costs.
Any South Taranaki or NZ businesses interested in doing business in Harbin or China should contact the South Taranaki District Council economic development manager on 0800 111 323.