Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: ZESPRI, the world’s largest marketer of Kiwifruit, today welcomed the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between New Zealand and Malaysia.
Speaking from the FTA signing in Kuala Lumpur, ZESPRI CEO, Lain Jager, said Malaysia had grown to be one of the company’s most important markets in South East Asia, with an annual turnover of $8 million.
“Kiwifruit is New Zealand’s 7th largest export to Malaysia and today’s FTA signing is an exciting step towards strengthening NZ-Malaysia trade opportunities for ZESPRI and for New Zealand.
“Malaysia presents significant future growth opportunities for our industry and we already have plans to boost our staff presence here to help educate Malaysian consumers about the nutritional benefits of ZESPRI® Kiwifruit. The elimination of the 15 percent tariff paid on kiwifruit from 2010 makes this market even more attractive. I congratulate the New Zealand Government for securing such a positive outcome for our industry.”
Innovative trade and consumer marketing to a growing population of health conscious Malaysians has helped grow ZESPRI® Kiwifruit volumes in Malaysia in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
“Sales have grown over 80 percent in the past two years and next year we’re aiming to sell over 1,000,000 trays through our strong local distribution partners. ZESPRI® Kiwifruit are now available throughout the country in large supermarket chains such as Giant, TESCO, JUSCO and Carrefour.”
Mr Jager said kiwifruit consumption is relatively low in Malaysia, as it is not grown locally and therefore has not traditionally been part of the diet. “ZESPRI® GREEN Kiwifruit is still preferred but Malaysians are starting to get to know the sweeter taste of ZESPRI® GOLD Kiwifruit with sales up over 100 percent in 2009. As the specific nutritional benefits become more widely known, we anticipate further double digit sales growth.”
Following his visit to Kuala Lumpur, Lain will be speaking at the second Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum in Tokyo, which will bring together senior Japanese and New Zealand government officials and business leaders.
The announcement of a Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia follows the signing earlier this year of an FTA between the South East Asian Nations, Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA). Tariff reductions resulting from that agreement will also help ZESPRI’s growth plans for Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.