Honourable Te Ururoa Flavell
New Zealand Minister of Maori Affairs
Your Excellency Dr. John Subritzky
New Zealand High Commissioner to Malaysia
Mr. Matt Ritchie,
New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Malaysia
New Zealand Trade Enterprise
Mr. Jose Miguel Porraz-Lando
Fonterra Brands Malaysia and Singapore
Ladies and gentlemen
A very good morning. It is such an honour and a pleasure to be here today, at the reopening ceremony of Fonterra Brands Malaysia’s Susumas manufacturing plant after recent upgrading works for this facility. I am privileged to celebrate this milestone today, as they reopen the doors to one of the main manufacturing plants for Fonterra in Asia exporting powdered milk products to countries around the region.
Fonterra is the largest dairy cooperative in New Zealand and the largest New Zealand investor in Malaysia. Being New Zealand’s largest producer of dairy products, Fonterra is the global face for New Zealand’s dairy industry. The location of this Fonterra-owned facility in Malaysia is one of the indicators of Malaysia’s strong economic relationship with New Zealand, with Malaysia being New Zealand’s eighth largest trading partner.
As Mr. Jose Miguel had mentioned earlier, it’s also encouraging to learn that Malaysia is one of Fonterra’s four leading markets and this shows the important role that Malaysia plays not only in terms in the consumer market but also as an export hub. This is largely attributed to our strategic location, infrastructure and highly skilled labour.
Trade is one of, if not, the most important indicator of bilateral relations between two countries. This year marks the 60th anniversary since the establishment of Malaysia-New Zealand relations, and we are glad that it has grown from strength-to-strength. Our long-standing friendship is based on strong ties in trade, education, security and defense, and tourism.
The highlight of our close trade relations would be on the 26th October 2009, when Malaysia and New Zealand has signed what is called the Malaysia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement in Kuala Lumpur.
This agreement will remove all existing duties and trade barriers, making it easier for both countries to conduct business and increase trade volume. In 2016, our trade with New Zealand stands at RM 5.46 billion, with exports to New Zealand at RM 2.82 billion and imports at RM 2.63 billion.
It is also promising to see a delegation from New Zealand led by the Honourable Minister Flavell. Selamat Datang to Malaysia and I look forward to more keen efforts to strengthen our ties further through business partnerships.
It is heartening to receive the vote of confidence from Fonterra as the largest investor from New Zealand who has paved the way for many others to follow.
Being one of Fonterra’s “leadership” markets, Malaysia is poised to be a regional export hub because of its location near two of the largest growing economies, namely, India and China.
And as part of the OIC and enjoying close ties to members of the OIC, Fonterra’s huge presence in Malaysia will ensure that Malaysia becomes one of the largest Halal-hubs in the Asia-Pacific region.
Malaysia is always improving and finding ways to make the country attractive to investors. This include putting in place infrastructure such as transportation networks and high-speed broadband, making it easier to connect to global markets. Also, with government-funded programs such as Skills Development Fund Corporation, Malaysia is ensuring that we will always have trained workers who are skilled.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am proud to announce that Malaysia is ranked at number 17 on Deloitte’s Global Manufacturing Competiveness Index 2016 and by 2020, Malaysia is predicted to move up to number 12 in this ranking. Malaysia is also grouped in what is called The Mighty Five for the Asia-Pacific region, alongside India, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. These 5 countries are expected to be included in the Top 15 rankings within the next 5 years in terms of manufacturing competitiveness.
On that note, I congratulate Fonterra once again for another major milestone in their operations here in Malaysia. I continue to wish and hope that our trade relations with New Zealand will increase and grow even stronger in the years ahead.