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Third round of NZ-M’sia FTA talks on Sept 14

The Star, Malaysia

Third round of NZ-M’sia FTA talks on Sept 14


THE proposed New Zealand-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is on track, with the third round of talks to be hosted in Kuala Lumpur on Sept 14.

The first two rounds were completed in Kuala Lumpur in May and in Wellington in July.

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Malaysia Geoff Randall said two or three more rounds of negotiations would follow before the December target for the FTA.

“We seem to have found a way through (in the talks) and are now in the problem-solving mode. Things are looking positive and we are making quite a push forward (in the FTA talks),” he told StarBiz.

The groundwork study for the FTA was launched in September last year following discussions between International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz and New Zealand’s Trade Negotiations and Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton.

The matter was also discussed during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s meeting with his New Zealand counterpart Helen Clark in Wellington in April.

New Zealand is Malaysia’s 26th largest trading partner, importing goods valued at US$444mil (RM1.687bil) against exports worth US$341mil (RM1.296bil).

Malaysia is New Zealand’s eighth largest trading partner, and is New Zealand’s largest export market and second largest source of imports within Asean.

Malaysia’s major exports to New Zealand include electrical and electronic products, crude petroleum, chemicals, machinery, appliances and wood products, while the bulk of imports are processed food, livestock and meat, paper and pulp products, electrical and electronic products, and chemicals.

New Zealand, a major producer of meat products, has stated its desire to make Malaysia a hub for its halal meat products.