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Latin America: A revised approach

This is an edited summary of the New Zealand Government’s revised Latin America Strategy, approved by Cabinet in May 2010.

Why is Latin America important for New Zealand?

Commensurate with the growing economic opportunities in the region, competition for Latin America’s attention and resources is increasing.  The region warrants a sharper focus from New Zealand for the following reasons:

The Latin America Strategy: Focusing on Economic Links

Since 2000, New Zealand’s Latin America Strategy Fund (LASF), worth NZ$250,000 annually, has promoted foreign policy cooperation and political links; trade and economic links; and people-to-people links between Latin America and New Zealand.

Since late 2008, the Latin America Strategy Fund has emphasised trade and economic links.  Its objective is to expand and deepen New Zealand's links with Latin America, especially to maximise the economic opportunities for New Zealand in the region and to strengthen political and foreign policy engagement. 

Under the Latin America Strategy, New Zealand has prioritized sixcountries: Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Peru, with scope to also increase our engagement with other countries such as Colombia and Cuba.  Necessarily our approach to each country needs to be tailored to reflect the different stages of our relationships. The dedicated overall Latin America framework is appreciated by our Latin American partners.  It has been seen as a positive point of difference in our engagement with the region.

What should New Zealand be doing?

Looking ahead, the following are specific priority action areas for New Zealand government agencies working with Latin America.

Risks

In order to take advantage of the opportunities in Latin America, we will need to recognise, and mitigate, key risks:

*There were 35,803 visitors, including students, from the region in 2009, almost half from Brazil. Argentina, Chile and Mexico are also growing sources of visitors to NZ.
***There are six LAN Chile flights from Santiago to Auckland and four Aerolineas Argentina flights from Buenos Aires to Auckland each week. There are also three Qantas flights from Buenos Aires to Sydney each week.
***There are approximately 3,580 students from Brazil (mainly secondary school and English language students) – making it New Zealand’s ninth biggest market for foreign students with an estimated yield of NZ$55million in 2009.

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Page last updated: Friday, 28 September 2012 14:58 NZST