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New Trade Commissioner To Malaysia

Auckland, January 11, 2002 -- Trade New Zealand has appointed Jeff Shepherd as its new Trade Commissioner to Malaysia.

Mr Shepherd previously spent five years as Trade Commissioner to Korea, and has most recently been based in Trade New Zealand’s Auckland office as a Market Services Manager for South East Asia.

“Malaysia offers some exciting opportunities for New Zealand companies, especially in the high tech, engineering, manufacturing, food and beverage and education sectors,” he says.

“New Zealand’s education system already has a great reputation and we need to be able to build on that reputation to encourage more Malaysians to study in New Zealand.”

In the past significant numbers of Malaysians have studied at New Zealand universities and companies considering trading in Malaysia can reap the benefits of strong existing ties between the two countries.

The Malaysian government is keen to tap into foreign expertise and technology in order to achieve economic growth, he says, and there is scope for New Zealand companies to capitalise on that need.

Malaysia is New Zealand’s biggest market in South East Asia and our tenth largest export market for a diverse range of exports.

In the year to October exports to Malaysia were almost $700 million, 28% up on the same period last year.

Nearly 80% of merchandise exports comprised agribusiness, food and beverages.

Live animals, agricultural and food processing consultancy are also key components and are expected to grow as Malaysia develops its agricultural and horticultural sectors.

This growth in overall exports was despite a slowing in the Malaysian economy over the past year. In the year ahead the Malaysian economy is expected to stabilise.

“Malaysia is a good country for New Zealand companies to do business in,” says Mr Shepherd. “We’ve got to be competitive, smart and look for further growth in specialised, niche markets instead of competing with larger suppliers.”

Within Malaysia, areas like East Malaysia also warranted closer attention from New Zealand companies.

The growth in tourism in East Malaysia in particular was creating opportunities for food exporters, and also for education.

Along with the appointment to Malaysia, Mr Shepherd also takes on the role of Trade Commissioner to Brunei. The oil rich region in particular offers market opportunities for processed food exports.

Malaysia also has sizeable investment interests in New Zealand in the forestry and technology sectors in particular.

Trade New Zealand is keen to explore further opportunities for Malaysian companies to invest here, Mr Shepherd says.

Ends

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