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Singapore, Japan on list for Ardern's first overseas trip since Covid-19

The prime minister is heading a trade mission to Singapore and Japan with what she calls a clear message - "New Zealand is open for business".

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the beginning of our reconnection plan is
Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Marika Khabazi

The mission will aim to reconnect New Zealand with the countries, which are described as two of Aotearoa's "closest Indo-Pacific economic and security partners" in a statement from the prime minister's office.

In her first international travel since the pandemic began, Jacinda Ardern, alongside Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor and 13 business leaders, is travelling as part of the government's "wider plan to reconnect with the world following the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, strengthening partnerships between government, business and industry will help accelerate our strong economic recovery".

In Singapore Ardern will meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and make a call on President Halimah Yacob. She will also address Singaporean entrepreneurs and business leaders as part of a NZ hosted gala dinner.

She will visit one of Singapore's major ports to discuss ways to future proof our supply chain and engage with aviation sector leaders on making aviation more sustainable, as well as cultural events.

In Japan, Ardern will, for the first time, meet with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to discuss global and regional challenges.

She will address the Japan-New Zealand Business Council, meet with high profile business and industry leaders including in clean energy and tech sectors.

Another aim is to highlight New Zealand's tourism and education sectors.

"This trade delegation will include impressive representatives from New Zealand's dairy, food and beverage, technology, tourism and renewable energy sectors, with a focus on promoting sustainability and innovation," Ardern said.

"I will be highlighting New Zealand's reopening for tourism and education, as well as supporting our businesses as they rebuild and grow connections with partners and customers in these two significant markets.

"It's just over two years since Covid-19 hit New Zealand's shores, prompting us to close the borders to protect lives and livelihoods. Now we must continue to reconnect with the world and I look forward to supporting our businesses across a range of sectors, and seeing my political counterparts in person."

Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O'Connor said Japan was New Zealand's fourth largest trading partner, with two-way trade totalling NZ$8.34 billion to the year ended December 2021.

"Singapore is our fifth largest with a total of NZ$6.56b in two-way trade over the same period. Singapore is an important market for dairy and tourism and are also a key regional hub for New Zealand exports and imports."

The delegation will be travelling on a NZDF Boeing 757 and will depart New Zealand on 18 April and return on 24 April.

source: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/465037/pm-jacinda-ardern-to-lead-trade-mission-to-singapore-japan