27 Oct 2009

Kiwifruit industry welcomes Malaysian deal

3:07 pm on 27 October 2009

The kiwifruit industry expects to be one of the big beneficiaries of the newly signed free-trade agreement beween New Zealand and Malaysia

Carol Ward of the kiwifruit marketer Zespri says exports to Malaysia have grown by more than 120% in three years, notwithstanding a 15% tariff on the fruit.

She says Malaysia is a market where consumers have had to be educated about kiwifruit and its nutritional value and Zespri expects to increase its marketing staff there.

The new agreement binds in the existing duty-free access for meat, wool, fish and forestry products and most dairy products exported to Malaysia. This means Malaysia cannot reapply tariffs on New Zealand agricultural exports.

It also significantly improves access arrangements for liquid milk products by lifting the annual quota from about half a million litres to more than two million litres and eliminating a 20% tariff three years earlier than allowed under the ASEAN agreement.

Expansion of Fonterra's KL plant opened

Ahead of the FTA signing, Prime Minister John Key and Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden officially opened an expansion of the dairy co-operative's cultured foods plant in Kuala Lumpur.

The plant processes ingredients made from New Zealand milk into cultured dairy products such as yoghurt and milk drinks.

The $12m expansion of the Dairymas plant will meet the growing demand for those products.