Ardern’s US trip to focus on trade, tourism

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Ardern will also deliver a commencement address at Harvard University during her visit…reports Asian Lite Newa

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will lead a trade mission to the US this week as part of the government’s reconnection strategy to support export growth and the return of tourists in the post-Covid-19 era, according to an official statement on Monday.

The business delegation will promote trade and tourism opportunities in New Zealand’s third largest export and visitor market, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Ardern will also deliver a commencement address at Harvard University during her visit.

The trip, which will take in five cities, was placed in doubt when Ardern contracted the virus a week ago, midway through a two-week isolation period which began when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive.

The Prime Minister departs on Monday evening and will be accompanied by the trade minister and business leaders from technology and tourism firms as well as innovative food companies Silver Fern Farms, top milk and kiwifruit producers Fonterra and Zespri.

The US is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and its largest market for services, Ardern said.

She added that the US was also New Zealand’s third largest tourist market for arrivals before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ardern is scheduled to meet senior members of the US Senate when she visits Washington but a hoped-for meeting with President Joe Biden may now not happen because of health protocols.

“In these times you roll with the Covid curveballs you’re thrown,” she told journalists. “That’s just part and parcel of the world we live in.

“The issue we have at play here is simply Covid protocols, it does not diminish our relationships at all.”

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