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Tuesday 11 March 2014 11:30am

Pramuk Perera
Pramuk Perera

International trade and business are the food and drink of Pramuk Perera's career thus far, working world-wide helping governments and private firms improve their business and global reach.

Working in Asia, Europe and the Middle-East for multinationals such as JohnsonDiversey, JKCS (John Keells Computer Services), IBM and Aviareps has not exhausted Pramuk's enthusiasm for international trade, rather it has led him to New Zealand to delve still deeper, becoming the University of Otago's first International Business PhD student.

As the world's first OECD country to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China Otago, New Zealand is an ideal base for working on his PhD thesis, Entry Strategy in Asian Emerging Economies: Implications of International Trade Agreements.

“New Zealand's China Free Trade Agreement covers areas related to investment, competition, intellectual property, and public procurement,” explains Pramuk. “Today the total business generated by this FTA exceeds $NZ12billion.

New Zealand and China

“My project considers the influence of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement (NZFTA) on the international business of firms based in New Zealand. I want to find out how this FTA can help New Zealand government and firms to further improve their business. More business opportunities increase the growth, growth increases the employment and income, and that will enhance the country's life standard.”

Pramuk says trade agreements are becoming prevalent in terms of international business, trade, politics and security.

"I hope that my thesis outcomes will help the government of New Zealand."

“I hope that my thesis outcomes will help the government of New Zealand to reshape its policies, and firms to open their eyes and make wise moves to improve their international business, and help society to understand the value of connecting with the world via international business and trade.”

Originally from Sri Lanka, Pramuk gained a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Marketing Management from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, before gaining a Master of Letters degree in International Business at Scotland's University of St Andrews.

Pramuk says his Otago Marketing Department base has an excellent set of lecturers and students.

Excellent support

“Everyone is very supportive and loves to see others grow,” he says. “My supervisor, International Business Director Dr Lisa McNeill, is always there for me when I need support.

“She also takes that extra step to connect me with other useful academics and professionals both internally and externally, such as Economics Professor Alan King and Management Professor Elizabeth Rose.

Though they are not my supervisors they have extended their fullest support to me with their extensive knowledge. The time they spent with me to explain some key concepts and methods I may follow is greatly appreciated.”

Pramuk says Otago's comparatively remote Dunedin campus offers a welcome change from living in “highly commercial cities”.

“Dunedin is compact, naturally beautiful and has many things to do and see! I think this is a lovely place for anyone of any age or any background. I read Dunedin's Economic Development Strategy published by the Dunedin City Council and I love its vision – 'Dunedin is one of the world's great small cities'.”

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