KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and New Zealand, both as producers and exporters of
forest products, are seeking trade partners' cooperation to check the rising
tariffs on timber products.
"We would like t o see tariff peaks to be reduced steadily in the area of forest
products so that we have a fair opportunity to add value in our own economy
prior to exports," New Zealand's minister for Trade Negotiations, Jim Sutton,
told reporters at a press conference after making a courtesy call on the
Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz.
Sutton arrived in Malaysia yesterday on a working visit heading a six people
delegation, including its deputy secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, Richard Grant and acting High Commissioner of New Zealand to Malaysia,
He said there was very little competition between Malaysia and New Zealand on
forest products as Malaysia specialised in hard woods and New Zealand in soft
"But we (Malaysia and new Zealand) are both concerned over the level of
escalating tariffs worldwide. The tariff barriers were pretty widespread in the
world," he said.
Touching on other areas during the courtesy call, Sutton said he was anxious to
go along with the concept of Malaysia as a "halal" hub for meat.
"I have a better understanding of what is envisaged here and how New Zealand as
a major supplier of halal red meat can fit into that concept," he said.
On another note, he said it was important for New Zealand to access markets
worldwide as its economy survived on a small population of four million people.
"We can't get the economies of scale in those products that we are good at
producing to achieve success without access to the world markets," he said.
Bilateral trade between Malaysia and New Zealand during the period between
January and March 2003 stood at RM662 million. Malaysia exports amounted to
RM377 million while imports RM285 million.
Trade balance between the two countries stood at RM92 million.
In 2002, total trade amounted to RM2,414 million with exports at RM1,236 million
and imports at RM 1,178 million.
Total capital investments from New Zealand for the period of 1997 to 2002 was
valued at RM20.7 million in prefabricated metal products and food manufacturing.