Philippine and New Zealand companies signed three cooperation deals on Friday during the visit of a 20-man business delegation as part of broader efforts to strengthen bilateral trade ties.
New Zealand Minister Tim Groser led the delegation comprising representatives from eight companies, one industry association, and three government-led agencies.
“Our bilateral trading relationship is quite literally in healthy shape, dominated by food and beverage products, primarily dairy products in one direction and bananas in the other,” said Groser.
Groser said New Zealand decided to send a delegation of business leaders because they recognize the Philippines as a fast-growing economy and wanted to explore more business opportunities here.
Nine New Zealand companies from specialized manufacturing, aviation, logistics, information technology, and food and beverage sectors will pursue trade links in the country.
New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Reuben Livermore said these companies have “world-class expertise in a variety of sectors, and are well placed to align with Philippine scale.”
At a business luncheon at The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City on Friday, three agreements were signed between the two sides.
GNS Science International Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Philippine’s Energy Development Corp. (EDC) for the provision of advisory services by GNS in support of EDC’s existing geothermal operations in the Philippines.
Ernesto Pantangco, EDC executive vice president, said the two organizations have been working closely for many years, with GNS Science providing specialist advice for EDC’s geothermal developments in the Philippines and Chile.
GNS Science general manager for business development Rob Johnston said the new deal will see EDC and GNS work together on Philippine steam field development as well as the company’s geothermal interests in Peru, Chile and Indonesia.
A second deal was signed between New Zealand-owned global health software company Orion Health and The Medical City (TMC), the country’s premier health institution. TMC has purchased Orion Health’s Enterprise Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, which will provide a unified view of patient data across the healthcare organization.
The third deal was between New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP).
The two groups signed an MOU to strengthen their relationship and agree upon a growth plan for the technology sectors in both countries.
IBPAP president and CEO Jose Mari Mercado said the MoU will allow both organizations to officially encourage and support the collaboration of the companies involved in innovation and technology.
“Both countries’ technology sectors have a lot to gain from working together—New Zealand provides innovative technologies that can be scaled in the Philippines for growth of companies here and abroad, and New Zealand’s rapidly growing technology sector requires skilled labor,” he said.
NZTech CEO Candace Kinser said the agreement has been in the making for more than a year.
“New Zealand and the Philippines have developed closer relationships and the significance of our Trade Minister leading a delegation that includes top tech companies emphasizes the importance of our countries moving forward together,” she said.
Hernando Banal, New Zealand’s Trade Commissioner to the Philippines, said the signing of the three deals “reflect the exciting business relationship between New Zealand and the Philippines.” “These partnerships reflect the regard in which New Zealand’s geothermal and IT expertise is held in the Philippines, and we are excited to further opportunities for collaboration in the future,” said Banal.
Other New Zealand companies and government agencies that expressed interest in pursuing trade links in the country include Patton Ltd., Airways New Zealand, BCS Group, Fonterra, Mainfreight International, Prime Foods NZ, Education New Zealand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
Groser expressed optimism that New Zealand and the Philippines “are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead of us in new and exciting ways.”
“The evolution of the global value chains is changing the way we do business,” he added.