FTA with Malaysia enters into force

  • Tim Groser

Minister of Trade Tim Groser has welcomed the entry-into-force of the New Zealand - Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), commenting that it is now up to businesses to make the most of the opportunities that it presents.

The FTA, which was signed in Kuala Lumpur by Minister Groser in October last year in the presence of the Prime Minister, the Hon John Key, officially comes into force tomorrow, 01 August. The FTA recognises the growing importance of the linkages between the New Zealand and Malaysian economies and is further evidence of New Zealand's strengthening economic integration with South East Asia.

"This deal provides our companies some of the best commercial access to the Malaysia market, and improves on the already substantial advantages that New Zealand businesses experience through the agreement we have with the countries of South East Asia under the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement," said Mr Groser.

Malaysia is one of New Zealand's most important markets in the South East Asian region, worth almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in exports in the year-to-May 2010.

Now in force, the FTA will eliminate tariffs on 99.5% of New Zealand's current exports to Malaysia within seven years - five years earlier than provided for under the existing ASEAN FTA. The FTA also provides new and enhanced market access for New Zealand's services exporters to Malaysia, including in education, environmental, management consulting and veterinary services.

"There are some significant beneficiaries for whom the effects of this high quality FTA will be immediate," said Mr Groser.

"The kiwifruit industry will today see a 15% tariff eliminated. There is also a significant commercial outcome for liquid milk exports from today, with the elimination of in-quota tariff rates and an increase in overall volumes. Slightly further out, the manufacturing sector also receives a significant advance with tariff elimination in key areas brought forward from the ASEAN FTA outcome," he said.

"I am confident that this agreement, when considered as part of the suite of comprehensive trade agreements that New Zealand has now concluded, will help our businesses become even more competitive on the world stage and see our connections with Malaysia - one of the most familiar markets in this region for New Zealanders - grow even stronger".

Full details of the New Zealand - Malaysia FTA can be found at www.mfat.govt.nz