NEW Zealand, as a major producer of meat products, is keen to pursue the concept of Malaysia as a hub for halal meat products, according to New Zealand Minister for Trade Negotiations and Agriculture Jim Sutton.
He said this after a meeting with International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz at her ministry in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Both ministers discussed bilateral trade policies as well as issues raised at the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting in Khon Kaen in Thailand, from which they just returned.
New Zealand has a small population of four million, and though we are good in productivity, we have to spread out wider for the necessary economies of scale, Sutton said.
He also said one of the items at the top of the agenda in his meeting with Rafidah was the progress of the recent Doha Development Agenda meeting under World Trade Organisation auspices along with other issues pertaining to trade in the agriculture sector.
Both Malaysia and New Zealand export timber Malaysia hardwoods, and New Zealand softwoods both as logs and sawn timber, as well as a certain amount of furniture.
We would like to see international tariffs regarding forest products reduced, he said.
A major concern for New Zealand was rising tariffs, Sutton said.
He added that while most countries accepted logs, products like sawn timber or wooden furniture often faced higher tariffs or trade barriers.
New Zealand and Malaysia would like to discuss these issues at the Fifth WTO Ministers Conference at Cancun in Mexico in September.
Did you find this article insightful?