Opening Doors to China
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
South Taranaki Mayor Ross Dunlop left for Harbin today, leading a small official delegation to open an office in the city.
Harbin, a city of some 3 million people in North East China and South Taranaki have had a formal Sister City agreement since 2005.
Last year the Harbin Municipal Government offered the Council an office in the City, rent free for three years.
Mayor Dunlop says to take advantage of the generous offer the Council entered into a partnership with a South Taranaki company which has strong cultural and commercial links to China to fit out and operate the office, so there would be no cost to the ratepayer.
"The office will be used to facilitate and grow the development of cultural and business relationships between South Taranaki, Harbin and greater China," says Mr Dunlop.
"As the world’s second largest economy and second largest importer of goods, China presents huge opportunities for New Zealand and South Taranaki businesses," he says.
Those economic opportunities were further enhanced in early 2008 when New Zealand became the first western nation to sign a Free Trade Agreement with China.
"Several South Taranaki businesses have already expressed high interest in using the office and our sister city relationship as a conduit for developing trade and tourism opportunities in China."
However, Mr Dunlop says; 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 why our relationship with the Harbin Municipal Government is so important and we believe this partnership offers one of the most significant opportunities for South Taranaki enterprises to grow their business in China.