June 28, 2018

Senate Passes Bipartisan Hirono Bill to Strengthen Economic Ties Between United States & New Zealand

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Senate unanimously passed S. 2245, a bipartisan bill authored by Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) to extend trade and investor visas to New Zealand citizens to increase international business between the United States and New Zealand. 

The passage of the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors (KIWI) Act comes as the United States and New Zealand marked a milestone 75 years of diplomatic relations last year. The bill would allow New Zealand citizens to apply for trade (E-1) and investor (E-2) temporary entry visas.

“New Zealand visitors supported over 2,000 Hawaii jobs last year alone and continue to build on our strong cultural and economic ties to the Indo-Pacific region,” Senator Hirono said. “By extending trade and investment visas, the KIWI Act will help spur further job creation in Hawaii and across the United States, and reaffirm the importance of our close and longstanding relations with New Zealand.”

New Zealand is one of our nation’s important strategic and economic partners. New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing alliance together with the U.S., United Kingdom, Canada and Australia and is the only member of the alliance whose citizens are not eligible to apply for E-1 and E-2 visas. Total foreign direct investment from New Zealand to the United States isvalued at over half a billion dollars. However, New Zealand businesses have found that the lack of access to E-1 and E-2 visas has hampered their ability to increase trade and investment in the United States. By allowing New Zealanders to apply for these visas, the KIWI Act aims to expand business and investment opportunities between the two nations.

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and the United States New Zealand Council also support the KIWI Act.

The KIWI Act is also cosponsored by Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

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