Business mission finds ease of trade and investment in Samoa

The recent New Zealand to Samoa Business Mission in June has underlined Samoa’s willingness to welcome international trade and investment. 

(L-R) Etu Tusitala (SBN Exec) River Burich (SBN Exec) Tofaeono Fonoti Dr. Lafatai Fuatai (Samoa Trade Commisioner), Hon. Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi (Assoc Minister ICT & Guest Speaker), Frank Po Ching (NZSTIC Chair), Afamasaga Jackie Curry (SBN Samoa Chair), Ashlene Paul (SBN Samoa Secretary), Clay Paul (SBN Samoa Treasurer). Photo credit: Jackie Curry (SBN Samoa Chair)

The NZ Samoa Business mission was organised by the New Zealand Samoa Trade & Investment Commission (NZSTIC) in association with the Samoa Trade Consulate, the Samoa Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Samoa Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the Samoa Business Network. They aimed to develop trade and business between New Zealand and Samoa.

The mission was led by NZSTIC Chairman Frank Po Ching and Samoa Trade Commissioner, Fonoti Dr Lafitai Fuatai.  There were 12 representatives from a cross-section of New Zealand businesses including telecommunications, training organisations, manufacturing, shipping and management consultancy.

Samoa Trade Commissioner Fonoti Dr Lafitai Fuatai said the mission was very successful.

These were not get-rich-quick schemes, but opportunities to be moulded and nurtured over time to achieve the projected outcomes as first envisioned he said.

“The tide of investment where New Zealand investors partnered up with local businesses where opportunities presented themselves, if taken up and harnessed properly, these may lead to better things in life.”

Delegates reported they had made good linkages with key contacts in Samoa.  On the first day, the delegation was welcomed by the President of the Chamber of Commerce and addressed by the Minister of Finance during the opening ceremony, as well as the NZ High Commissioner to Samoa HE David Nicholson.  Business presentations followed giving the delegation insights into Samoa’s Trade & Investment framework.  NZSTIC Business Mission gave their presentations. This was followed by Trade and Investment partnerships and opportunities from Samoa’s private sector. The delegation also later hosted by David Nicholson for a networking function on the evening of the first day.

Individual business appointments with key contacts was arranged for the delegation. Fonoti also visited the vanilla plantation run by the Samoa Trust Estates Corporation and was impressed with its progress. The Samoa Government has recently revitalised the vanilla industry.

Chairperson of SBN Samoa Afamasaga Jackie Curry said in an earlier media release, “SBN is passionate about Samoan businesses reaching their full potential and by reaffirming our alignment with NZSTIC, we are better positioned to continue connecting, sharing and promoting Samoan businesses and entrepreneurs here in Samoa, New Zealand and around the world.”

Businessman Tiumalu Peter Fa’afiu is the co-owner and Partner of New Zealand based management consultancy, Navigator Limited. Mr Fa’afiu has worked as a New Zealand diplomat and trade negotiator as well as a strategic and operational advisor to several Pacific and Iwi groups. The company has an in-country partner in Samoa after it signed an MOU with a local consultancy.  He said the mission was a good opportunity to meet with the right business interests, government officials and Ministers. The meetings organised for him and another Navigator consultant were spot on. They had several leads to follow up on.

New Zealand based The Wine Portfolio Sales and Marketing Director Fiona MacDiarmid, was still on a high after returning from the Samoa Business Mission when Pacific Periscope interviewed her at the company’s Parnell office.

Mrs MacDiarmid is the Sales and Marketing Director for the New Zealand (NZ) based company, The Wine Portfolio. The privately owned and independent wine company was established in 1978 and is owned by Canadian entrepreneur John Coney. They have an Auckland office with 503 planted hectares of vineyards in the Hawkes Bay and Marlborough. The stable of 13 wine brands some of which are internationally recognised have won several top awards. Going to Samoa for the first time was “a bit of an unknown.” But being part of an organised business mission made it easy she said.

Mrs MacDiarmid said their company decided to attend the NZ Samoa Business Mission after meeting Frank Po Ching, the Chair of the New Zealand Samoa Trade & Investment Commission at an earlier networking event. Samoa seemed the right opportunity due to its proximity to New Zealand, it was a place they could understand and there was potential growth of Samoa’s resort and tourism sectors.

“The opportunities were there the more we thought about it,” Mrs MacDiarmid said.

“They were all extremely helpful and it was made very easy.

A big part of a successful business mission is access to key people at the top.  Mrs MacDiarmid said they met key people during the mission.

“It’s still early days yet and like wine, things do not happen overnight,” Mrs MacDiarmid said.

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