Mato’s responsibilities as trade commissioner will include providing support to Pacific Forum Island (PIF) countries, including the Cook Islands, in facilitating trade, investment and tourism opportunities.
Tepaeru Herrmann, secretary of Foreign Affairs and Immigration (MFAI), said: “China is an important partner of the Cook Islands and we have niche areas of trade, investment and tourism interests as relate to China
“Whilst most of our government relations with China are managed directly from Rarotonga via MFAI headquarters and Wellington through our High Commission, we will continue to call on the PT&I (Pacific Trade and Investment) Beijing office where we need supplementary assistance, including for market access for a handful of Cook Islands export products into China.”
Mato said it was an honour to be appointed in this role and to serve the Forum Island Countries.
“While my tenure commences during trying times in China, a priority in this role is to refocus our plans to respond to this unprecedented change,” he said.
“This work will include leveraging and strengthening collaborations with our key stakeholders and partners in China and the Pacific so that we maintain delivery of our leaders mandate to promote and facilitate trade and investment opportunities for our pacific enterprises.”
Mona is the second Cook Islander to assume the trade commissioner post – the first being Rohan Ellis, who was appointed on the opening of the Beijing Office and served from 2000-2008.