New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will travel to the United States this week to boost exports and attract more tourists as the Pacific nation looks to fully reopen its borders after more than two years of sanctions.
Arden’s visit comes as US President Joe Biden pays a five-day visit to South Korea and Japan. His public agenda does not include a meeting with Biden, who is expected to return to Washington on Tuesday.
“New Zealand’s relationship with the United States is one of our most enduring and significant. The mission will feature political and security engagement as well as tourism and trade promotion,” Ardern said in a statement Monday.
Bilateral trade between the countries was worth about NZ $ 18.5 billion ($ 12 billion) in 2021, with an average of 5% annual growth over the last 15 years, official data shows.
U.S. travelers were 10% of total arrivals before the advent of the Covid-19, New Zealand’s third-largest tourist market.
“Travelers plan their trip a few months before the summer in New Zealand, to let Americans know that we are open to business and travel, now is the right time to be visible in the US market,” Ardern said.
New Zealand closing its border to non-citizens in March 2020 helped keep COVID-19 numbers relatively low. Earlier this month, Ardern said the country would fully reopen its borders by the end of July.
Ardern, who will leave on Monday evening after recovering from a recent COVID-19 infection, will meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York and senior members of the Senate in Washington, DC. He will also give an introductory speech at Harvard University in Boston.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)