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MinBC chair aims to boost Mindanao-New Zealand link

New Zealand’s honorary consul to Mindanao Vicente T. Lao is planning to conduct trade missions beginning this year to bolster business-to-business exchanges between the two areas.

“I will try my best to have at least one business delegation a year to explore both sides (Mindanao and New Zealand),” said Lao, also the chair of Mindanao Business Council (MinBC).

The business activity, he said, will be spearheaded by MinBC.

The conduct of the trade missions is among the plans of Lao, who was formally named as New Zealand’s first honorary consul in Mindanao on Tuesday at the Marco Polo Davao Hotel with New Zealand Ambassador David Strachan.

“We will go around and meet with different chambers to promote our products and look at trade opportunities. Though New Zealand is not a big market with about four million population. We can seize opportunities in terms on bringing in companies to locate especially in Mindanao,” Lao said.

The companies, he said, can help boost jobs generation should they put up their operations in the island.

He also planned to bolster the tourism sector by promoting the island as a go-to destination for the people in New Zealand for its humid climate. Filipinos, meanwhile, would be encouraged to travel to New Zealand especially during winter season.

New Zealand Ambassador Strachan said the appointment of Lao as honorary consul “will create a platform for a new era in relations between New Zealand and Mindanao.”

He said the island has been among their important areas in providing assistant and boosting ties especially in tourism, education and business.

“Vic, it is an honor to have you join our whanau (Māori for family) and I am sure that you will be an important bridge between our business communities and our two peoples,” Strachan said.

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