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NZCTA Forges Ahead in Another Year of Progress

China General Interest

NZCTA Chairman, Stuart Ferguson, will be reporting on another successful and active year at the Association’s AGM in Auckland on 12th November.

"We must be very happy with the overall result", he said. "The organisation is in good health financially , and membership is still gaining solid ground."

In a difficult economic climate and with plenty of competition in a relatively small market, most business councils have found it challenging even to maintain their membership levels.

NZCTA's ability to increase in excess of 20% over the year, whilst achieved in the context of a time when China is very much in the spotlight, is nevertheless testament to its determination to provide high value for membership.

Being a conduit between membership and both Governments is an essential responsibility and a business council’s effectiveness in that task is dependent on its profile with the Governments.

"Our image and relationship with the Government agencies is at a very high level both in terms of interaction and the path ahead" continued Ferguson.

NZCTA provided plenty of input into identifying the business sector’s needs for the FTA negotiations and three members of the Executive joined the Government’s party to the signing in April. In fact, Honorary Lifetime Member, Vic Percival, who was honoured with an ONZM in the New Year’s Honours and was subject of a new biography launched in July, accompanied the Government as a special guest and exchanged mutual congratulations with Premier Wen Jiabao.

The Association also assisted NZTE by organising three events to brief members and guests on the upcoming Shanghai Expo in 2010, to where it plans to send at least three delegations.

Two of the Expo events were in Napier and Tauranga, part of a plan to extend NZCTA’s range beyond Auckland, where most of its members currently reside. This will be followed up next year together with activities in the South island and Wellington.

China Now, NZCTA's web based magazine, was launched in June and pleasingly, so far, there has been no shortage of contributions. It remains, as far as we know, unique in that it is the only China / NZ focused publication containing only original material. You may read it later elsewhere, but you read it first in China Now!

The most ambitious project of the year was the Trade Mission to the 103rd Canton Fair in April.

First, NZCTA had to be awarded the NZ agency for the International Pavilion, which was achieved in November 2007. Then working in particular with EMA Northern and the Auckland City Council, NZCTA organised a joint Business and Civic Mission (Guangzhou is Auckland’s sister city), which was to have been lead by Mayor John Banks. In the event, the Mayor was indisposed and ceded the leadership to NZCTA Chairman, Stuart Ferguson, but the doors that the Mayor was able to open proved of high value to the business delegates.

Whilst the NZ stand was of modest size, (it was a first attempt!), it certainly received high profile with coverage throughout China on CCTV and exhibitors reported success both in marketing products and setting up distribution channels.

NZCTA with EMA were encouraged enough to plan a further Mission to the Fair in April 2009 and has reapplied for the Agency.

Planning for the 2009 Trade Awards has commenced and the event is expected to take place in June 2009. This is also a huge undertaking but the previous two Awards in 2005 and 2007, attended by the Prime Minister and Minister of Trade respectively, were highlights of the international year and Cathay Pacific has already offered its strong support to ensure a repeat in June.

"It will be the subject of major effort from now on," said Chairman Ferguson, "Your participation is essential to make this the success that we know it can and will be."

Lastly and perhaps most appropriately, Ferguson acknowledged NZCTA's new sponsors, Cathay Pacific, Ernst and Young and HSBC (gold) and Ports of Auckland, Cosco and DHL (silver). "I ask that you join with me in thanking our Corporate Sponsor line-up. Their contribution both financial and physical has been immensely valuable and must be noted well by all who benefit."

Tags: canton fair