Make it happen in the Philippines: a business forum and networking night

Monday 27 May, 5pm – 7pm

“The Philippines has an “open and dynamic economy with a young, rapidly expanding population, an exciting market for New Zealand businesses.” – NZTE

New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon visited Manila on 18-20 April 2024 and was received by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  In this historic visit, the first in over 14 years, the two leaders infused renewed energy and intensity to the relationship by committing to grow two-way trade by 2030 and capitalize on the interest of New Zealand companies to invest in the Philippines in information and technology, renewable energy, and food and beverage, buttressed by important initiatives to facilitate ease of doing business in the country.

Come and learn about these opportunities at this business and networking forum hosted by the Auckland Business Chamber and supported by the ASEAN New Zealand Business Council and the New Zealand Philippines Business Council.

Hear from the Philippines Deputy Minister for Trade, the Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand, and speakers from New Zealand companies that are Making It Happen in the Philippines, and build relationships with potential partners at the networking reception while enjoying lechon (Filipino suckling pig) and other Filipino delicacies.


This will be of interest to:

– business people working in any export and investment-related sector

– those seeking to offshore business activities in the dynamic ASEAN region

– Anyone keen to understand the Philippines trade and economic landscape and policies in 2024

The event’s details are:

Date: Monday 27 May
Time: 5pm – 7pm
Location: Princes Ballroom A, Pullman Auckland, Cnr Waterloo Quadrant & Princes Street, Auckland 1010

“We’re in the Philippines, a country of 110 million, one of the fastest growing economies in South East Asia, with young talented people – I think just a huge opportunity for New Zealand to build out more trade and investment.” – Prime Minister Christopher Luxon during his visit to Manila, 18-20 April 2024.
The Philippines and New Zealand hold a business matching session on 18 April 2024 on the sidelines of the official visit of New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon. In the photo with Prime Minister Luxon are (from left) Philippine Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) strategic lead convenor Sabin Aboitiz, Special Assistant to the President on Investment and Economic Affairs Secretary Frederick Go, Philippine Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual and New Zealand Ambassador to the Philippines Peter Kell.

Guest Speakers

Ambassador Kira Azucena

Kira Chistianne D. Azucena is the Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand with concurrent jurisdiction over the Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa and Tonga. On 13 June 2023, she presented her credentials to Governor-General RT. Hon. Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO of New Zealand.

Ambassador Azucena is a seasoned diplomat with a career spanning 28 years, having joined the Philippine foreign service in 1995. Throughout her career, she has held various notable positions, including Director of the Division for Central Europe at the Office of European Affairs; Special Assistant to the Secretary-General of the National Organizing Committee of the Philippine Hosting of the 12th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings in 2006 in Cebu; Assistant Secretary of the Office of American Affairs; Chief Coordinator of the Office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Chief of Staff of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; and Assistant Secretary of the Office of the United Nations and International Organizations.

Abroad, Ambassador Azucena served as First Secretary and Consul and Alternate Permanent Representative to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) at the Philippine Embassy in Rome; Deputy Consul General at the Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong SAR; Deputy Consul General at the Philippine Consulate General in New York and Manager of the Philippine Center in New York; and Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’affaires, a.i. at the Philippine Mission to the United Nations in New York.

Ambassador Azucena was born in Dumaguete City, Philippines, in August 1973. She obtained her Bachelor of Mass Communication degree from Silliman University. She is married and has three children.

Undersecretary Allan B Gepty

Allan B Gepty is the Undersecretary for International Trade Group (ITG) at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) where he supervises the Bureau of International Trade Relations, Bureau of Import Services, and the Strategic Trade Management Office.

From December 2018 to November 2023, he was the Assistant Secretary of the DTI’s Industry Development and Trade Policy Group (IDTPG) where his main portfolio was on trade policy and trade negotiations at the bilateral, regional and multilateral level.

He is the country’s Senior Economic Official at the ASEAN. He also served as the country’s chief trade negotiator in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, considered as the largest free trade deal in the world.

Prior to his appointment at the DTI, he was a Commissioner of the Philippine Tariff Commission. From 2010 to 2017, he served as Deputy Director General of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) of the Philippines, and from January 2015 to October 2015 as its OIC- Director General. As such, he represented the country at the General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

He is a lawyer by profession with diverse experience in international trade, intellectual property, public international law, commercial law, and litigation.
He is a Senior Fellow in Public Service at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. He is also a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at The Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He finished his law degree from the San Beda College, Manila in 1997, and his Master of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas, España, Manila, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2016. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce major in Economics from the same university, where he graduated Cum Laude in 1992.

He is a member of the Supreme Court of the Philippines Sub Committee for the Revision of the Rules of Procedure for Intellectual Property Rights Cases. He is an active member of the Academe at the College of Law and Graduate School of Law. He is an author of a book, Intellectual Property Law Compendium.

He is a recipient of many awards including the prestigious Presidential Medal of Merit from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., and the Gawad Dr. Pio Valenzuela for Government Service both in 2023.

He is a reserved officer of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) with the rank of Major.

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