The 12-strong delegation departed today and includes representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Central Economic Development Agency, Building Clever Companies, Massey University, UCOL, Helisolutions, BlueSky Group, and Southern Cross International Import & Export.
“International connections are absolutely vital for Palmerston North’s growth, and we’ll be visiting a number of high-value destinations including Chengdu, Shanghai and Tokyo, along with our Sister City Guiyang, our Friendship City Kunshan, and Mihara in Japan where another friendship relationship is forming,” says Mayor Grant Smith.
“We’ll be travelling with a pop up expo of Palmerston North that promotes our city as a great place to visit, study, invest, live, and do business. In Chengdu alone the expo will reach between 60 and 80 potential investors, business and education partners.”
The trip also coincides with the 25th anniversary of Palmerston North’s Sister City relationship with Guiyang, China.
“The anniversary provides an unmissable opportunity to cement our relationship with Guiyang and to grow cooperation and mutual benefits. The southwest of China is an increasingly rewarding market for New Zealand businesses, with less international competition compared to Eastern China, while still benefiting from strong local brand recognition for safe, quality products. Manawatū businesses have another advantage with our long-standing Sister City relationship, and we are looking to really make the most of this.”
International education will also be a key focus of the visit, with the Mayor signing a new education cooperation agreement with Guiyang. In Japan the delegation will be visiting Okayama, home to IPU founder Mr Hiroshi Ohashi, where the Mayor will be addressing the university open day.
The trip has been planned during a break in Council meetings so the Mayor can get away without impacting Council business.
Council funded participants include the Mayor, the International relations Manager and an interpreter. After his return, the Mayor will be hosting a public seminar to talk about the outcomes of the delegation visit.