HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 591: 23 November 2011

14 year old document set to produce economic results
It has been 14 years since then Cook Islands High Commissioner to NZ, Iaveta Short, on behalf of the Cook Islands government, signed the One China Policy document with China.
Since then the Chinese have gifted us a Court House and Police Headquarters and funded our indoor sports complex with a low interest loan. A further $37.5 million loan offer sits in the wings waiting to be utilized to improve our roads and water.
During Marine and Education Minister Teina Bishop’s recent visit to China, interest in the One China Policy Document resurfaced and the consequences for the Cook Islands as a result of the reaction by the Chinese, was enormous.
The Chinese hold such documents in high regard and when Minister Bishop brought the document back to the forefront of discussions, well, it was like the sky opened up.
In the Minister’s own words-“Pivotal to the success of this trip was the principle of confirming and supporting the Cook Islands Government’s position on the “One China Policy” which was a feature throughout the visit and one that was highly valued and respected especially by our Chinese counterparts.”
Just consider the outcome of the Minister’s visit;
• Signing of the Fisheries Access Agreement between the Government of the Cook Islands and the Distant Waters Fisheries Association of China (Hon Teina Bishop on behalf of C.Is Gov and Mr Huang Baoshan Secretary General witnessed by Dr Liu Director Bureau of Fisheries PRC)
• Payment of $NZ840.000 to the Government of the Cook Islands on the signing of the Access Agreement
• Purchase of $1m of ropes and floats to assist the pearl farmers in Manihiki on an emergency basis
• Shipment of this equipment by boat to the Cook Islands by either the Luen Thai Fisheries Co or Yuh Yow Fishing Co from Chinese/Taipei
• Agreement in Principle to establishing a “ Spirit of Co-operation” relationship between PRC and CI.Gov to further foster economic development and growth in accordance with the Joint Communique between C.Is Gov and PRC signed in 1997
• Appointment of Mr Samuel Chou as Honorary Adviser to the Minister of Marine Resources C.Is Gov on Asia and PRC (details of background to be provided)
• Appointment of Mr Stephen Wong as Honorary Adviser to the Minister of Tourism and Education C.Is Gov on PRC (details of background to be provided)
• Agreement to source 3 mandarin speaking teachers to come to the Cook Islands and teach Mandarin for up to 2 years ( further consultation and negotiations required )
• Agreement to foster joint venture development projects for the northern group to strengthen economic and infrastructure initiatives immediately
• Agreement to provide technical and research assistance to the pearl farming industry in the northern group to boost volume, quality and marketing
• Agreement to undertake the potential for aquaculture research and farming in the Cook Islands
• Development of a Spirit of Co-operation Agreement to be signed in the Cook Islands by the Minister for Fisheries / Tourism in 2012
• Agreement to welcome and host a high level delegation to the Cook Islands to explore Tourism, Marine and education related activities in early 2012
• Agreement to facilitate a university student exchange program through the Shanghai Ocean University
• Facilitation of negotiations to explore the options of airline operations from PRC, NZ and Cook Islands
• Provision of labour capacity from PRC to assist the pearl farmers in Manihiki
• Technical assistance to train pearl farm technicians as required
• Opportunity to discuss the expansion of tourism markets (targeted) for PRC operators to the Cook Islands
The Minister’s trip was undertaken in four stages and all visits, consultations and dialogues undertaken were relative to his responsibilities including; Marine Resources, Tourism, Education and Pearl Authority.
The Minister was assisted by Ben Ponia, Secretary for Marine Resources, Tina Browne, Chair of the Pearl Authority and his CEO George Turia.
Stage one
The first stage was a visit to Kunming which is regarded as the largest Travel Mart in Asia and his visit was jointly hosted by China National Tourism Administration, General Administration of Civil Aviation of China and the Yunnan Provincial People’s Government. Now in its 12th season the Mart hosted over 2000 booths with over 1000 international buyers from 90 countries globally.
This is the Cook Islands first exposure to this Mart and efforts are underway in future to consider expanding our Tourism Industry for access to Tourism operators, aviation activities, economic investment opportunities and the establishment of a proposed “sister city relationship” with the Yunnan Province.
Stage two
The Minister visited Chinese/Taipei to bring to completion the signing of a Fisheries Access Agreement between the Government of the Cook Islands and the Yuh Yow Fishing Co which is based in Chinese/Taipei. This Agreement was signed with the result being;
• More fish offloaded in the Cook Islands from within our EEZ
• Canning of our fish (tuna loins and steaks) in either Chinese/Taipei or Pago Pago
• Sale of canned fish using Cook Islands exclusive brand name and marketed in NZ, Australia and the Cook Islands targeting our own people
• Access of boats to assist with transporting goods and commodities from Asia to the Cook Islands
• Potential joint venture partnerships in other areas of economic development initiatives currently being explored. These include the purchase of Marine equipment to assist our local fishermen and pearl farmers
• Assistance with developing Fisheries facilities for the northern group (Penrhyn) as a means to help boost the local Penrhyn economy.
Stage three
The Minister then visited Beijing and Shanghai. In Beijing various meetings took place involving the Bureau of Fisheries representing the Government of PRC and the Distant Waters Fisheries Assn representing the Fisheries Associations throughout PRC. This involved several days of intense negotiations until the agreement was finalized and signed. Additional meetings were also held with representatives of the Bureau of Fisheries to consider other Fisheries related activities of mutual interest to both countries.
In Shanghai, the Minister and his delegation visited Shanghai Ocean University and the China National Observer Training Centre and College of Marine Science and Technology which specializes in the research and training of maritime personnel across Asia including the Pacific. The university has 15,000 students on campus and services regionally approx. 35,000 purely for maritime, marine and aquaculture purposes.
A visit was paid to the largest pearl market in the world, the Pearl Industry Park Shanxiahu Zhuji Zheijian, which provided the delegation with the opportunity to discuss the Cook Islands own pearl marketing and farming strategies with a number of manufacturers and distributors who expressed an interest in the Avaiki brand and our own unique black pearls from Manihiki.
The delegation also visited the Ocean Technology Fisheries Co-Op in Ningbo and had the opportunity to visit the JESSN Ocean Exploitation Co Ltd who specialize in manufacturing Fisheries equipment and accessories globally.
Stage four
The Minister and his delegation then visited Guangdong/Shenzen.
In Guangdong the Minister met up with Hon Teariki Heather and his delegation from the Cook Islands attending the signing of the Sister City Relationship between Fiji and several other Pacific nations with the Province of Guangzhou. This part of the trip concluded with the delegation supporting our own cultural dance team at the International Cultural Festival concert Extravaganza.
The Minister also met with the Minister for Tourism in Guangzhou where a number of issues relating to tourism, education, culture and infrastructure development were discussed. The final meeting involved a number of top tourism operators and administrators who were shown a presentation of what the Cook Islands has to offer and were keen to pursue opportunities and exchange information in the near future including protocol, access and marketing to name a few.
In Shenzen, the delegation met with representatives of Luen Thai Fishing Ventures to look at their extensive operations including a number of their other manufacturing interests. This company employs over 180,000 people across PRC, Asia and the Pacific. A visit to one of their bag factories provided insights into how well this company looks after its staff and the efforts taken to preserve image, integrity and loyalty amongst its employees.
Last but not least and considered the highlight of the Minister’s visit to PRC was a special trip to visit possibly PRC’s most prominent freshwater pearl farm outlet in Shantou owned by Professor Xie Shaohe to look at the whole process of farming from inception of the pearl oyster to sale. His turnover of the pearls in 2010 was approx. 500 tonnes with an estimated value of Yuan1billion annually. -Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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