Common interests have underpinned the strong relationship between the United States and New Zealand since we first established formal relations in 1942. One of our mutual interests includes promoting open markets and a rules-based economic order. In the past several years, commercial ties between the United States and New Zealand have grown stronger with both nations engaged in record levels of bilateral coordination and trade.
The promotion of the United States as a business investment destination is an important component of the U.S.-New Zealand relationship. Savvy New Zealand companies are expanding their facilities to the United States. Last year, New Zealand exports of goods and services to the U.S. totaled U.S. $5.9 billion and New Zealand imports of goods and services from the U.S. totaled U.S. $6.6 billion, an increase of 3.2% over the previous year. These figures demonstrate robust trade between the countries and represent our shared successes.
Most recently, the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand launched its Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) non-immigrant visas program. These visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation.
Under the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors (KIWI) Act that authorizes the two visas, since August 1, 2018, New Zealand entrepreneurs and investors can now spend longer periods of time in the United States to expand their trading operations or grow their businesses. Offering these new visas helps create new jobs for Kiwis and Americans alike, another major step in strengthening U.S.-New Zealand trade and business ties.
According to U.S. Senator Hirono, who represents Hawaii, New Zealand visitors support thousands of Hawaiian jobs and continue to help deepen our strong cultural and economic ties in the Indo-Pacific region. She noted that the KIWI Act will incentivize job creation in Hawaii, as well as across the United States.
In June 2019, Ambassador Scott Brown, U.S Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, led a delegation of six New Zealanders from five businesses to participate in a Select USA event in Washington, DC. The delegation included a technology start-up, an energy firm, a peanut butter producer, a software company and a test and measurement company for advanced optical communications and photonics.
At the event, participants attended sessions on financing start-ups in the U.S. market, as well as different programs focused on job training, networking services for small and medium sized manufacturers, trends in the digital economy and understanding the U.S. customs process. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross welcomed the delegation, followed by a briefing from U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.
The U.S. and New Zealand have achieved a new summit in our friendship and global partnership that benefits Americans and Kiwis alike. We don’t have to imagine what’s possible – we see it.
About the Author: Sonia Kim serves in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.