Korea and New Zealand celebrated another year of growth, innovation and friendship under the theme of Korea-New Zealand “Inspire with Innovation” at a year-end networking function held at the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The Year End Grand Hui, hosted by the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Korea, also known as The Kiwi Chamber, and supported by the New Zealand Embassy in Korea, was attended by over 200 dignitaries from the public and private sectors. The event showcased the deepening relationship and trade growth since the free trade agreement between the two countries entered into force.
New Zealand Ambassador to Korea Clare Fearnley provided the keynote address highlighting the trade achievements of the last year, while Mayor of Wellington City Justin Lester profiled New Zealand’s capital city known for its creative and vibrant lifestyle, art and cultural activities and distinctive Kiwi architecture.
“The relationship between Korea and New Zealand has continued to expand since the Korea-New Zealand FTA entered into force, and innovation and collaboration across new sectors is a major reason for this,” said Ambassador Fearnley. “Mayor Lester’s visit also offers a great opportunity to grow people-to-people links between Wellington and Korea.”
The latest trade figures for the year ending June 2017 show Korea’s goods exports to New Zealand at US$1.4 billion, with strong performances in sectors such as vehicles (up 23 percent); boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances (up 10 percent); and iron and steel (up 9 percent). This makes Korea New Zealand’s seventh largest source of imports.
New Zealand exports to Korea also continue to perform well with food and beverage exports increasing 29 percent from the December 2015 start of the FTA to June 2017 to US$455 million. Strong growth in key sectors include meat (up 13 percent); dairy products (up 12 percent); fruit and vegetables (up 39 percent); wine (up 19 percent); and beer (up 50 percent) in the year to June 2017.
Korea and New Zealand also continue to strengthen science and innovation relationships in areas such as ICT, digital technologies, biotechnology and health technology, while successful partnerships already exist in 4D technology, health robotics, agriculture robotics and joint Antarctic research.
“One of the core initiatives of The Kiwi Chamber is our ‘Inspire with Innovation’ series, which focuses on mutually beneficial innovative collaboration between Korea and New Zealand,” explained Dr. Tony Garrett, chairman of the Kiwi Chamber. “We are very fortunate to have Ambassador Fearnley and Mayor Lester with us this evening to understand how innovation impacts both business relationships and creative cities.”
The Grand Hui, which is a traditional Māori social gathering or assembly, offered guests a New Zealand-themed culinary experience, world-class Babich wines, craft beer from MOA and Killinchy Gold ice cream, accompanied by a live neotraditional Korean music performance by Luna and modern New Zealand music. A lucky draw included top prizes from key sponsors Singapore Airlines, Four Seasons Hotel, Zespri, Ecostore, Shott Beverage, Nespresso and Whittaker’s Chocolate, among many others.