Matrade to open office in Florida

  • Business
  • Saturday, 05 Mar 2005

By Johan Fernandez in Houston

The Malaysian External Trade Development Corp (Matrade), the external trade promotion arm of the International Trade and Industry Ministry, will open an office in Florida, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said. 

At present, Matrade has two offices the United States - one in New York and the other in Los Angeles. 

Rafidah made this announcement during a question-and-answer session with participants during a “Business Opportunities in Malaysia” in Atlanta on Wednesday. 

The announcement came at an opportune time as a trade delegation from the Florida District Export Council, now visiting Malaysia, has offered Malaysian businessmen wanting to penetrate the US and Latin American markets to use the council as partners. 

Rafidah, who ended her three-city trade and investment mission in Houston on Wednesday, had earlier visited Atlanta in Georgia and Raleigh in North Carolina.  

The Malaysian delegation included Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khir Toyo for the Atlanta seminar and Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam for the stop in Raleigh, state government representatives and private sector companies. 

Organizers described the tour as successful, judging from the large turnouts at every stop and one-on-one meetings between state government representatives and the private sector with their US counterparts. 

In Houston, the seminar attracted participants in the oil, gas and drilling, as well as chemical, engineering and machinery industries. In North Carolina, it drew the biotechnology firms. There were about 130 business meetings in Atlanta, 90 in Raleigh and about 200 organized in Houston. 

The seminar in Raleigh was of great significance as North Carolina is the national leader in the biotechnology industry. 

The state has 181 companies with biotechnology or related bioscience operations, with another 76 companies providing contract research and testing services to the industry. 

Rafidah called for greater collaboration between Malaysian and US institutions to build the foundation for a sustainable biotechnology industry, saying that Malaysia was recognised as one of the 12 mega-biodiversity countries in the world with abundant resources of flora and marine life. 

Many biotech companies attended the seminar and participated in one-on one discussions.  

T.K. Rao, president of Integrated Laboratory Systems, Inc, a biotech company in the Research Triangle Park, said he planned to lead a delegation to Malaysia soon to look into areas of collaboration. 

Malaysian participants found the seminars beneficial and had established links for further discussions. 

Dominic Belavendram of Belmah Strategies (M) Sdn Bhd, an ICT company in Bandar Sunway Metro, said that he had established contacts for further discussions. 

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