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Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee says attending Dubai 2020 will provide significant economic and entrepreneurial benefits that Kiwi businesses should take advantage of.

Mr Brownlee has today released the Cabinet paper and Indicative Business Case (IBC) supporting New Zealand’s attendance at the World Expo, being held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020.

Through Budget 2017, the Government is committing $53.3 million over the next four years to design, construct, operate and promote a New Zealand Pavilion that will allow Kiwi businesses to highlight their innovative products and services and open doors to new export markets.

“Our $53.3 million is about 0.5 per cent of current New Zealand exports to the Gulf States,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Since New Zealand’s participation in the Shanghai Expo in 2010, with a free trade agreement with China in place, exports have grown 300 per cent – from just over $2 billion to more than $6 billion.

“It’s expansion of this magnitude that Dubai 2020 presents. It will allow New Zealand to challenge perceptions beyond agricultural commodities and tourism to broader high-growth sectors in IT, health, infrastructure and education.

“Attendance at this expo will build on our already strong relations with the UAE and other Gulf countries. Strong relations in this region will ultimately lead to a range of positive outcomes, including greater bilateral trade and investment.

“I recently talked to my counterpart HH Sheikh Abdullah, who expressed his gratitude about New Zealand announcing our participation at Dubai 2020.

“Before signing up to attend, we wanted to be clear on the value we could get in return so we commissioned financial consultants EY to assess the business benefits.

“Despite adopting a pessimistic model and using conservative figures, the IBC calculates that New Zealand will have comfortably recouped our investment by 2025.

“EY identified 10 key benefits in its IBC – from providing opportunities to increased inbound investment and increased exports to both existing and new markets to attracting more international students to New Zealand and improving our global business connections,” Mr Brownlee says.

The UAE is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These countries are extremely wealthy and, over the last decade, the region has been one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing markets outside China.

The Cabinet paper and IBC can be found here.

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