PETALING JAYA – The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) expects Malaysia’s total trade with New Zealand to increase 10 per cent by 2020 following the long-standing business relationship between both countries.
Last year, Malaysia’s total trade with New Zealand stood at RM5.46 billion, with exports amounted to RM2.82 billion and imports valued at RM2.63 billion.
Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said this year marked the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Malaysia, encompassing trade, education, security and defence, and tourism.
He said the close relations culminated in the signing of the Malaysia-New Zealand Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) on Oct 26, 2009 in the capital.
Ahmad hoped the trade relations between the two countries would grow stronger with the FTA and the anniversary celebration.
Since the signing of the FTA, the two-way trade has increased by 57 per cent, he told reporters at the official reopening of Fonterra Brands (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd manufacturing plant here today.
Ahmad said Fonterra Brands Malaysia has played an important role in facilitating the trade relations.
“Fonterra Brands Malaysia continued to invest in Malaysia to build up local infrastructure and strengthen manufacturing capabilities and best practices. This will help drive Malaysia’s manufacturing competitiveness which is a key push to realising our national strategy of vision 2020,” he said.
Fonterra Director David Macleod described Malaysia as one of the company’s eight priority markets, not because of the in-market customers and consumers, but also because of its place in the global network.
“From Malaysia, we export 40 per cent of our manufactured products to 13 countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
“So, even though Malaysia is only five per cent self-sufficient in dairy production, it is also a dairy exporter in its own right by virtue of these re-exports,” he said.
Macleod said half of Fonterra’s New Zealand exports passed through Malaysia on their way to key markets, including China, Japan, and African and European countries.
With the reopeninng of the Susumas milk powder manufacturing plant, the company expects to see the overall dairy consumption to improve between three and four per cent per year globally and between seven and eight per cent in Southeast Asia, he added.
The RM20 million site-improvement project, which started in August last year, focused on enhancing the capacity and efficiency, allowing Fonterra to cater to the growing demand of its dairy nutrition brands, namely Anlene, Anmum and Fernleaf. – BERNAMA