New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will be visiting the United States on a mission to promote trade and tourism as the country opens up from two years of COVID-19 restrictions.
The prime minister departs on Monday evening, local time, and will visit New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, and Seattle.
It is still unclear whether she has secured a visit to the White House to meet President Joe Biden, who will return from his own overseas trip to Japan and South Korea on Tuesday.
“I'll be taking a simple message—that we are open for business and, of course, that we’re open for recreation, especially as U.S. visitors will begin to make their plans now to arrive on time for our summer,” she told reporters.
The United States is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and largest market for services. A large focus of the trip will be to support business linkages and technology partnerships to accelerate NZ’s economic recovery.
“We’ve seen very positive growth in our exports to the United States, with an emphasis on high value products, such as digital services,” Ardern said.
The United States was also New Zealand’s third largest visitor market, comprising 10 percent of all arrivals before the country closed to the world in 2020.
“With travellers planning their visits months before coming in the New Zealand summer now is the right time to be visible in the U.S. market letting American’s know we are open for business and travel,” Ardern said.
The relationship with the United States was also fundamental for political and security engagements too, Ardern said, adding that in a world of increasing challenges, it was important to work closely with friends who shared the same values.
The prime minister will meet senior members of the Senate in Washington, deliver the commencement address at Harvard University, and meet with California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“California is world leader in green technology. This technology will be essential to New Zealand’s ability to meet our carbon emissions reduction targets,” she said. “My meeting with Governor Newsom will be an opportunity to discuss ways in which we can work closely together on combating climate change.”