NZ sees more gains from fruitful Saudi trade links
New Zealand Ambassador Hamish MacMaster has reiterated the importance of Saudi Arabia for his country as a major economic partner.
“Saudi Arabia has been our largest trading partner in the GCC. More than 85 New Zealand companies export their products to the Kingdom, accounting for $ 500 million worth of exports to Saudi Arabia,” he said.
The ambassador made his remarks as he led the recent launch of a new kiwifruit variety — Zespri Sungold — in Saudi Arabia at the New Zealand Embassy in Riyadh.
He said Saudi Arabia is the first GCC country where “we are launching Zespri Sungold kiwifruit. We’re expecting the arrival of several tons of the fruit in a few days’ time.”
The New Zealand envoy said he expects the fruit to help increase his country’s bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia which amounts to $ 1.5 billion.
“Our exports to the Kingdom totals $ 600 million and our imports touch $ 900 million. Our exports include food and dairy products while we import mainly energy from Saudi Arabia,” he said.
He said that the introduction of the new kiwifruit variety is a “new milestone in our bilateral relationship with the Kingdom which started in the 1980s.”
Ben Hughes, Zespri International Limited’s regional manager for the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and India, added that Zespri is one of the world’s largest marketer of kiwi fruit, with the Zespri brand recognized as the world leader.
“Based in New Zealand, Zespri are 100 percent owned by kiwifruit growers, employing almost 300 people. We represent 2,700 growers and manage kiwifruit innovation, production, distribution management and marketing of all varieties of Zespri kiwifruit,” he said.
“Our success around the world is built on solid foundations, working with great people and experienced distributors who understand local conditions and the markets in which they operate,” he said.
He said: “Saudi Arabia is the classic example of this where Zespri is partnering with the Mohammed Abdallah Sharbatly Co. Ltd. which has 10 branches across the Kingdom and throughout the GCC.”
Publication date: 6/6/2014