Global Insights – July 2022
Our Kea Regional Directors give on-the-ground insights into what is happening in their region and the opportunities this presents for New Zealand export businesses.
Hi, my name is Rebecca Bao and I have been an active member of Kea for many years and I’m excited to be able to contribute to the growth of the community in an official capacity. I am a passionate ambassador for New Zealand and bring with me a good understanding of both Chinese and New Zealand local culture and ways of doing business. I have maintained a number of excellent local contacts in both China and New Zealand which I am really excited to mobilise in support of my work for Kea. I am really looking forward to getting to know the community better and helping New Zealand companies expand into the Chinese market.
I am originally from Shanghai but moved overseas to the UK to study. I have a LLM and an MBA from John Moores University in Liverpool, England. Following my studies, I worked at the biggest law firm in Liverpool before returning to China. I have worked as a Senior Immigration Officer at MBIE for four years and when the local offices closed I took up a role with the European Union Chamber of Commerce before also working for a large international human resource organisation.
Outside of work I like to go swimming and take part in rope jumping, yoga and Taichi. I also really like to read, and am currently enjoying “The Importance of Living” written by Yutang Lin, a well-known Chinese inventor, linguist, novelist, philosopher, and translator.
Rebecca Bao, China Regional Director
UK & Europe
Across the UK prices are continuing to rise at their fastest rate for more than 40 years, driven by higher petrol and food costs. In the 12 months to June, the UK Office for National Statistics says inflation has risen to 9.4%.
The UK’s inflation rate is currently higher than the US and other countries in Europe, with the latest estimates of annual inflation for Germany at 8.2% and for France at 6.5%. Chief UK economist at consultancy Capital Economics, Paul Dales says the two main causes of inflation globally were surging energy prices thanks to the Russia Ukraine conflict and worker shortages. The UK has been hit harder by worker shortage thanks to the combination of the pandemic and Brexit.
Europe represents 30% of New Zealand’s total exports. Despite many Kiwi businesses having limited exposure to Russia and Ukraine, they have not been spared the effects of the conflict, with the most direct and tangible impact coming through higher raw material prices and increasing fuel costs which are impacting supply chain prices. While there are some obvious challenges facing businesses there is a lot of optimism in the market as well, especially for brands which are seen as premium or have a strong story to tell around sustainability and values.
Sara Fogarty, Kea UK/Europe Regional Director
This month Kea’s Global CEO Toni Truslove has been in-market and we have met with a number of our community in both San Francisco and New York. There have been some great discussions and learnings around connecting Kiwi and making sure both parties get the most out of these connections. One of the common themes we saw come up among Kiwi entrepreneurs was focused around start up challenges and how to access capital and when you need it. There were also some good conversations around believing in yourself and staying true to your business’s vision.
In San Francisco, we met with NZTE Trade Commissioner Ruth Macleod and her team. This is a busy time for New Zealand companies heading to the US. We play an essential part in helping NZTE connect with Kea members who are willing to help with their expertise and insights.
Another interesting meeting was with offshore Kiwi Ryan Everton. Ryan is the CEO of Turn, a company which eliminates single-use plastic cups at large-scale events across NZ, Australia, the US, and Europe. He has created reusable cups and reverse vending bins that collect all products post-consumer use through a customisable incentive system. He has invented fully autonomous, and mobile washing systems engineered to wash, rinse, and sanitise reusable products on-site or nearby. With the events industry in full swing globally, this is a significant growth time for his company.
Otago University graduate Dave Ferguson is the Co-founder of tech company Nuro. He graciously allowed us to host an event at Nuro’s headquarters. The company creates driverless vehicles which deliver goods to people and has recently signed contracts with FedEx and Seven 11. Dave gave a quick overview of his business and discussed how he hopes that robotics can take on the role of more and more mundane tasks such as grocery shopping, freeing us up time to do more of what we enjoy, such as connecting with friends and family.
Overall the mood among founders here is buoyant. Many are in the US launching their businesses, and the chance to be in the market and meet face to face with their partners really helps speed up things.
Gary Fortune, Kea North America Regional Director
July saw a continued high volume of scheduled offshore Ministerial visits with a focus on Australia and the Pacific, and the announcement of changes to New Zealand’s investor visa settings in a bid to attract experienced, high-value investors, bringing growth opportunities to domestic businesses.
The new Active Investor Plus visa category is part of the government’s Immigration Rebalance strategy, which aims to attract high-skilled migrants, and aligns with the goal of building a more productive, competitive and sustainable economy. The Active Investor Plus visa uses a weighting system to incentivise investor migrants to directly invest in high-value, high-growth potential New Zealand investment opportunities. Apart from capital, businesses will benefit from the investor’s human capital, global knowledge, and market connections to keep expanding. By having a higher weighting for active investments, potential investors can qualify for the visa with a lower minimum investment amount than those who choose more indirect or passive investments. NZTE is the key point of contact for potential investor migrants and will also be responsible for aftercare services to support investor migrants play an active role in New Zealand’s investment ecosystem. Immigration NZ retains the visa processing and decision-making role.
The schedule of trade missions continued this month as part of the Government’s reconnection strategy to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19. The Prime Minister headed directly to Australia from European meetings early in the month to lead a mission including over 30 New Zealand businesses to Melbourne and Sydney. Australia is our second largest trading partner and largest source of visitors, with over 1.55 million visiting in 2019 and contributing over $2.7 billion to the economy. During the mission, the Prime Minister met with tourism leaders and key Australian investors before heading to the Pacific Island Forum in Fiji.
The Forum covered major issues affecting the Pacific region from climate change to China, the US and security, and indigenous rights movements in West Papua and New Caledonia. The Solomons Islands security pact with China continues to be a concern, and US Vice President Kamala Harris was unexpectedly invited to address the Forum where she unveiled a major package of initiatives to boost the US presence in the region, including opening two new embassies – including Kiribati – and NZ $1 billion over the next decade towards fishing and economic support.
Finally, Bede Corry has been announced as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to the United States. Currently New Zealand’s High Commissioner to London, he previously served as Deputy Secretary for Australia, Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Europe Group, as Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, and as New Zealand’s Ambassador to Thailand.
Saya Wahrlich, Global Director, Government & Industry
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