SINGAPORE: New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will visit Singapore as part of a trade mission later this month, her first official overseas engagement since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Ardern will be accompanied by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor and as well as business leaders in the dairy, food and beverage, healthcare, aviation, tourism, supply chain and energy sectors, said New Zealand Trade and Enterprise on Tuesday (Apr 12).
They will depart New Zealand on Apr 18.
"This first trade mission is an important milestone for the New Zealand Government’s Trade Recovery Strategy as it looks to accelerate the country’s strong economic recovery by reconnecting to the world, with Singapore recognised as one of its closest and most important strategic economic partners," said New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.
New Zealand companies visiting Singapore as part of the trade mission include Fonterra, ANZCO, Zespri International, Beca Group, GNS Science, Auckland Airport, Christchurch Airport, Food Innovation Network (FoodBowl), The Clinician, Plant & Food Research, Beca, Wakatū/AuOra, Cogo and the New Zealand Hydrogen Council.
The delegates are expected to use the trip to sign partnerships and memorandums of understanding that strengthen bilateral collaboration and innovation.
Trade Commissioner at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in Singapore, Maggie Christie, will host Ms Ardern and delegates.
"We are delighted to be hosting the prime minister on her first official overseas engagement since the start of the pandemic," said Ms Christie.
"We look forward to deepening and broadening our collaborative partnerships with Singapore across sectors that are of strategic importance to New Zealand."
Ms Ardern made her first official visit to Singapore in May 2019 at the invitation of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
The New Zealand government said on Monday that Ms Ardern will meet with Mr Lee and make a call on President Halimah Yacob. She will also address key Singapore entrepreneurs and business leaders as part of a New Zealand-hosted gala dinner.
Ms Ardern will also visit one of Singapore’s major ports, engage with aviation sector leaders, take part in a customary welcome ceremony at the request of the Singapore government, and attend a Kūwaha unveiling at Gardens by the Bay.
Singapore is New Zealand's fifth-largest trading partner with NZ$6.56 billion (US$4.47 billion) in two-way trade in the year ended December 2021.
"It's just over two years since COVID-19 hit New Zealand’s shores, prompting us to close the borders to protect lives and livelihoods. Now we must continue to reconnect with the world," said Ms Ardern.