The Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is keen to expand business links in New Zealand after holding information sessions in Auckland and Wellington this week. It identified key export industries like ship-building, backroom engineering design, nursing/healthcare and other skilled business outsourcing functions as key targets for NZ investment.

Attendees were also interested in the food trade, with the Philippines offering mangoes, coco sugar and coconut oil and New Zealand looking to export its honey and ice cream. New Zealand’s 40,000 resident Filipinos would provide a ready-made market for exports.

The Philippines and New Zealand are already covered by the Asean Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA), which began January 2010 and allows Philippine goods to enter New Zealand tax-free until 2020. The information sessions were part of a DTI project designed to highlight opportunities for the Philippines under current agreements, called the ‘Doing Business in Free Trade Areas’ (DBFTA) Program. As well as AANZFTA, the Philippines also has free trade agreements with China, Japan, Korea, and recently signed with India.