New Zealand—not just a country, but a brand

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Date Posted: 22 Jul 2017

For New Zealand, its name is all the guarantee consumers everywhere need that products and services coming from Kiwi land are clean, safe and sustainably sourced.

Hernando Banal II, New Zealand trade commissioner in the Philippines, says the country puts its name behind every thing its industries and businesses trade and market to assure clients everywhere that they are getting only top quality goods and services.

In effect, New Zealand is the all-encompassing brand, the one name people need to know when they are making purchasing decisions.

Banal, a Filipino who moved to New Zealand decades ago, says the Kiwis, as New Zealanders are fondly called, invest large sums of money in state-of-the-art technology and facilities to ensure the safety and quality of their products and services.

“New Zealand has to protect its products, primarily foods and beverages, [as its] main advantage is the provision of clean, safe and sustainably produced products,” Banal says.

New Zealand exports nearly 80 percent of the food it produces. It is one of only two countries in the world, the other being Thailand, to export more than half of the food it produces.

He says New Zealand, which conducted recently the one-day trade show Food Connection Manila at New World Hotel in Makati City, wants to see more of its brands in Philippine supermarkets. At present, more than half of Philippine imports from New Zealand are dairy products. New Zealand milk powder is used for the local production of dairy goods.

In 2016, the Philippines was the 15th biggest market for New Zealand imports and the fifth in the 10-member Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

New Zealand imports primarily bananas and pineapples from the Philippines, a major source of fruits and vegetables.

Banal says, “Overall, our two-way trade has remained steady at about one billion New Zealand dollars over the past four years, notwithstanding falls in commodity prices.”

He says the impressive Philippine economic growth in recent years has also brought the country greater attention in New Zealand.

Helping strengthen New Zealand-Philippine ties is the growing Filipino community in Kiwi land. There are now more than 50,000 Filipinos in New Zealand, more than 1 percent of the country’s population.

Filipinos account for the largest Southeast Asian ethnic group in New Zealand.

The annual Food Connection trade fair, which is also brought to other countries like South Korea and Japan, is held to show the diversity of New Zealand products and introduce prospective customers to new items.

“The challenge,” Banal says, “is to bring more brands [to foreign, particularly premium end, markets].”



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