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Malaysian PM to visit NZ

10 March 2005

Malaysian PM to visit NZ

Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today that Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmed Badawi will make an official visit to New Zealand from 30 March to 1 April.

Helen Clark welcomed the Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit, saying that Malaysia is a respected and influential voice in ASEAN and the wider Asian region.

"Malaysia chairs the Organisation of Islamic Conference, and is actively involved in many areas of multilateral diplomacy," Helen Clark said.

"We have a long history of close and friendly ties in education, defence, tourism, and business with Malaysia. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s visit will be an opportunity to discuss the scope for deeper engagement.

"It will also enable us to share views on developments in Asia of strategic importance to both countries, as well as shared global concerns, such as security, economic development, and WTO issues.

"There is considerable scope to boost two-way economic links between Malaysia and New Zealand. Both countries have concluded studies into the possible benefits of a bilateral free trade agreement, and Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton will release the findings of the New Zealand study today.

"An FTA with Malaysia would provide real gains for both countries. It would enhance our bilateral relationship and complement negotiations underway with ASEAN as a whole," Helen Clark said.

Malaysia is New Zealand's tenth largest bilateral trading partner with merchandise trade worth more than NZ$1 billion.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is expected to be accompanied by senior cabinet ministers and a delegation of business leaders.

ENDS


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