Enhance two-way trade : Dr.Chan  

The Borneo Post - Saturday, 07 June 2003

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KUCHING: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr George Chan yesterday said Sarawak, which imports agriculture-related New Zealand products, should also consider exporting its agriculture products there.

Among the local agriculture-related products that could be exported to New Zealand were tropical fruits, seafood and timber, he said, adding that business links between the two nations should be further enhanced.

Speaking at the opening of the NZ Centre here, he said New Zealand and Malaysia had enjoyed a history of close and friendly links with each other dating back originally from education-related Colombo Plan, Commonwealth ties and shared security concerns.

He said last year, Sarawak accounted for five per cent of the RM2,415 million worth of two-way trade between Malaysia and New Zealand.

Dr Chan, who is also Minister of Finance and Public Utilities and Minister of Industrial Development, said Malaysia was New Zealand's eighth largest bilateral trading partner, 12th largest export market globally and 6th largest source of imports.

Presently, about 20 New Zealand companies had major investments in the country, including in the telecommunications, electronics, software, information and food technology sectors, he said. On the other hand, Malaysian businesses had invested in the hotel and property sectors and forestry and food processing in New Zealand, he added.

Earlier, NZ Centre managing director Rodger Chan said the establishment was set up to focus on matters relating to education, trade and investment between Sarawak and New Zealand.

"The centre represents all the universities in New Zealand and an increasing number of quality institutions and schools.

"We are working on establishing and assisting business and trade ventures between Sarawak and New Zealand.

"The centre is promoting New Zealand to leading Sarawak business people as a highly attractive destination for investment.

"Likewise, we hope New Zealand companies and organisations will use NZ Centre as their offshore marketing bases amongst potential customers in Sarawak," he said.

Rodger said the centre would also play the role of secretariat to business start-up between the two nations. He cited an example in THF Resources Sdn Bhd which was developing a joint venture arrangement with CPIT in New Zealand.

It would also serve as the secretariat for the upcoming inaugural New Zealand Alumni Convention, whereby it could play a role in coordination between the people of both nations, he said. He said the centre would strive hard to forge closer links with business and industries here and in New Zealand.