Sarawak takes a step forward towards closer ties with NZ 
New Straits Times - Saturday, 07 June 2003 

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KUCHING, Fri. - The warm relationship between Sarawak and New Zealand took another step forward with the opening of NZ Centre here today.

New Zealand's Minister for Trade Negotiations Jim Sutton opened the centre, which will focus on education, trade and investment.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan and acting New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia David Pine were among those present to witness the opening of the centre in Jalan Utama.

Sutton, who is also New Zealand Agriculture Minister, Forestry Minister Biosecurity Minister and Rural Affairs Minister, said ties between his country and Sarawak could be strengthened in many fields.

"We must continue to work together in areas such as education, tourism and agriculture."

Dr Chan said both countries have a history of close and friendly links dating back to the education-related Colombo Plan, Commonwealth ties, and shared security concerns.

Dr Chan, who is also State Industrial Development Minister and Finance and Public Utilities Minister, said two-way trade between. New Zealand and Malaysia stood at RM2.4 billion last year.

Malaysia was New Zealand's eighth largest, bilateral trading partner, 12th largest export market globally, and sixth largest source of imports. Dr Chan hoped to see more co-operation between New Zealand and Sarawak, especially in education.

The NZ Centre represents all universities and a number of institutions and schools in New Zealand. It plays the role of secretariat to business start-up for companies between both sides.