“They’re open for business! You gotta go down!”
That was the endorsement from one of America's most popular late night television hosts in New York on Wednesday, where Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined Stephen Colbert as part of her trade and tourism trip to the US.
“I’ve brought you a cold bin of beef," she quipped - going on to explain she was gifting Colbert a chilly bin of New Zealand’s finest grass fed, net carbon zero meat.
The Silver Fern Farms product was fresh from a launch across town attended by the PM, along with a host of trade delegates and expat Kiwis.
The quick appearance was one of many hotel hops throughout the day, with Ardern also engaging with travel editors and US powerhouse investment manager BlackRock.
America is our third-largest trading partner - New Zealand is their 47th.
There’s no free trade agreement between the two and negotiating deals has been made harder since the former US administration pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
“I think it was a huge mistake for the Trump administration to pull out of the CPTPP,” said US Chamber of Commerce's Myron Brilliant. "I think it's been a mistake of the Biden administration not to look at that as an opportunity."
But there’s little appetite for the US to rejoin the alliance, especially now inflation has hit record-high levels and economists are warning of a looming recession.
At the same time, the increasing political power play between the US and China is threatening to overshadow New Zealand’s mission.
Ardern also made a brief visit to the UN Secretary General on Wednesday, before reiterating New Zealand's neutral position to reporters.
“There is tension in our region. We have, over various periods of time, seen escalation in language, [and] we will constantly call on New Zealand’s behalf, and others, for peace and stability in our region,” she said.
With several days left and a busy schedule across both sides of the country, New Zealand continues to dance the delicate line between trade and diplomacy.