French connection

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As a potential portal into France and the European Union (EU) markets, there are ample business opportunities in New Caledonia.

An overseas country and territory (OCT) of the EU, New Caledonia’s imports to the EU totalled € 200 million, while exports amounted to € 1.2 billion in 2015.

New Zealand’s closest neighbour has the third highest GDP per capita (€ 29,400, 2015) in the Pacific region (after Australia and NZ), and it represented NZ’s third largest export market in the Pacific two years ago.

Last year, the New Caledonia – NZ Business Council was created by the Official Representative of New Caledonia to NZ Dr Yves Lafoy.

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Dr Yves Lafoy

Based at the French Embassy in Wellington, the New Caledonia Delegation has a two-fold role, Yves explains.

“It is bilateral, and reinforces political dialogue between New Caledonia and New Zealand, and helps to grow cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, culture and education, and science and innovation,” he says.

It is also multilateral, and oversees New Caledonia’s role and activities with the Pacific Islands Forum and its member countries.

Throughout 2017, the New Caledonia Delegation will stage a series of talks in Wellington and Auckland to promote New Caledonia’s economic appeal.

The Council helps achieving the trade exchange focus of the New Caledonia Delegation.

Its members include the French NZ Chamber of Commerce (FNZCCI) representatives, together with about 20 French entrepreneurs based in Auckland, either doing business with New Caledonia or willing to do so in a near future.

On February 27, the Council will meet in Auckland, where French speakers will hear Yves present at an event hosted by Hawkins.

Then on February 28, Yves will present again in English at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Auckland Office, at an event hosted by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF).

Topics Yves will present on include New Caledonia guidelines for export support; New Caledonia Tourism Development Strategy 2025; and the New Caledonia-NZ Joint Cooperation Plan, which aims to set out the framework and objectives of a long-term bilateral trade relation between the two countries, and was signed in September 2016.

It is one of three yearly meetings to discuss avenues for improving trade between New Caledonia and NZ.

As the Council grows and evolves, it has many aims it wants to accomplish in the near future, Yves says.

“We want to boost trade exchange between New Caledonia and New Zealand, with a focus on facilitating joint ventures/ economic partnerships for New Zealand companies interested in the New Caledonian market, and the New Caledonia – New Zealand Business Club (although informal) will contribute to implement the Joint Cooperation Plan,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the Council is looking for new members and it is planning to give the Council a more “formal” status before inviting New Zealand agencies and entrepreneurs to sit around the same table, Yves says.

Being a part of the Council will benefit any NZ agency or entrepreneurs willing to do business in New Caledonia and benefit from the lessons learnt by their French counterparts who are currently members of the Council.

New Caledonia – New Zealand Business Council meeting

When: February 27-28, 2017

Where: February 27 – at Hawkins, Auckland for French speakers; February 28 – at MFAT, Auckland office, for English speakers.

What: Informal meeting where NC Guidelines for export support; NC Tourism Development Strategy 2025; and the NC-NZ Joint Cooperation Plan, signed in September 2016 will be presented

For more information, email yves.lafoy@diplomatie.gouv.fr

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