Saturday July 31, 2010

Malaysia-New Zealand FTA to come into effect Aug 1

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia-New Zealand Free Trade Area Agreement will come into force on Aug 1 after 10 rounds of intense negotiations, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said the negotiations, which commenced in May 2005, concluded in May last year. The agreement was signed on Oct 26.

Under the agreement, tariff reduction would start on Aug 1, with free trade fully realised by 2016 for industrial and agricultural products, he said.

He said Malaysia would gradually eliminate import duties for 10,293 tariff lines and fully remove 20% and below import duties for 9,070 tariff lines by 2012.

More than 20% import duties on 1,233 tariff lines would be abolished by 2016, he told a media briefing yesterday.

Mustapa said New Zealand would liberalise import duties on 7,288 tariff lines via full removal of import duties on 7,237 tariff lines by 2015 for products such as cocoa, carpets and tyres. The remaining 51 tariff lines like margarine, steel wires, iron products and wood furniture would see import duties scrapped by 2016, he said.

Mustapa said the FTA would substantially reduce barriers for goods and services trading and open up vast opportunities for bilateral trade and investment between the two countries.

“Asean is now New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and this FTA will definitely encourage them to trade more with Malaysia,” he said.

This would also complement the Asean-Australia-New Zealand FTA, which was concluded in 2008, he said.

Last year, Malaysia’s total trade with New Zealand was RM3.5bil, with exports amounting to RM1.9bil and imports RM1.6bil, he said.

In the first six months of this year, Malaysia’s trade with New Zealand was RM2.1bil, with electrical and electronic appliances, chemical, processed food and manufactured metals as major exports, he said.

He said processed food, paper and pulp and machinery were major imports from New Zealand.

Malaysia and New Zealand had also agreed on sectoral, automatic and reciprocal most favoured nation treatment for private education, engineering services, environmental, services incidental to mining, computer and related products, he added. — Bernama

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