China’s strategic Belt and Road Initiative will be the focus of next week’s export forum in Alexandra.
The strategy, launched in 2014, was designed to promote closer ties between China and other countries through development-led trade growth and investment opportunities.
The forum will be hosted by the Central Otago District Council at the Alexandra Community House on Thursday August 4 from 4pm.
The council’s economic development manager, Warwick Hawker, is organising the event.
The meeting would be one of several being held around the country by New Zealand China Council executive director Stephen Jacobi.
To date, 69 countries and organisations have signed up to be part of the BRI.
New Zealand signed a memorandum of arrangement in 2017. That meant the two countries agreed to explore ways of working together to expand trade and investment opportunities.
“We haven’t done a forum for a while and it is the ideal opportunity,” Mr Hawker said.
The forum would be an excellent opportunity for people interested in exporting to China or seeking investment with the country to get together to find out about the strategy and to network, he said.
China is a growing market for Central Otago fruit, especially cherries, and wine.
The number of Chinese visitors coming to Central Otago, and New Zealand in general, is expected to grow yearly and the National government last year declared 2019 the China-New Zealand Year of Tourism.
Mr Hawker said the BRI could also provide opportunities for investments, which “ticked all the boxes” for both New Zealand and China.
Other areas include the innovation (start-up business incubators), biosecurity, education and creative sectors, such as encouraging more movies to be filmed in Central Otago.
“I think it is a really exciting initiative and it will be good if we can get Central Otago linked to it,” he said.