WELLINGTON, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Attending Dubai 2020 will provide significant economic and entrepreneurial benefits that Kiwi businesses should take advantage of, said New Zealand Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Brownlee released the Cabinet paper and Indicative Business Case (IBC) supporting New Zealand's attendance at the World Expo, to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020.
Through Budget 2017, the government is committing 53.3 million NZ dollars (36.93 million U.S. dollars) over the next four years to design, construct, operate and promote a New Zealand Pavilion that will allow Kiwi businesses to highlight their innovative products and services and open doors to new export markets, Brownlee said.
"Our 53.3 million NZ dollars is about 0.5 percent of current New Zealand exports to the Gulf States," he said.
Brownlee noted that since New Zealand's participation in the Shanghai Expo in 2010, with a free trade agreement with China in place, exports have grown 300 percent -- from just over 2 billion to more than 6 billion NZ dollars.
"It is an expansion of this magnitude that Dubai 2020 presents," he said, adding that it will allow New Zealand to challenge perceptions beyond agricultural commodities and tourism to broader high-growth sectors in IT, health, infrastructure, and education.
Brownlee said attendance at this Expo will build on New Zealand's already strong relations with the UAE and other Gulf countries, and strong relations in this region will ultimately lead to a range of positive outcomes, including greater bilateral trade and investment.
Brownlee's counterpart Sheikh Abdullah has expressed his gratitude about New Zealand's announcement on participation at Dubai 2020, according to Brownlee.
In order to be clear on the value New Zealand could get in return, business benefits have been assessed, and the IBC calculates that New Zealand will have comfortably recouped the investment by 2025, despite adopting a pessimistic model and using conservative figures.
The 10 key benefits identified in the IBC include providing opportunities to increased inbound investment and increased exports to both existing and new markets to attracting more international students to New Zealand and improving the country's global business connections.
The government release also said that the UAE is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are "extremely wealthy and, over the last decade, the region has been one of New Zealand's fastest-growing markets outside China."