Roundtable Talks To Boost Malaysia-Victoria Food Market

By Neville D'Cruz

MELBOURNE, July 16 (Bernama) -- The Malaysia Consulate General here hosted a high-level roundtable to discuss promoting agriculture, food and beverage exports between the state of Victoria and Malaysia.

The conference, held in conjunction with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) and the Australia Malaysia Business Council (AMBC) Victoria, also provided a platform for the participants and observers to network and exchange experiences and ideas.

Acknowledging the importance of the roundtable, James Flintoft, Deputy Secretary, the Victorian Department of Environment & Primary Industries was joined by Second Secretary (Halal Attache), Malaysian High Commission, Canberra, Mohd Asri Abdullah and Deputy Director, Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry of Malaysia, Syariman Mat Salleh, from Sydney to take part in the event.

The agenda for the roundtable was developed to facilitate thought leadership discussion and the organisers sought the views from business and industry representatives on key issues and opportunities to enhance and support food and beverage exports between Victoria and Malaysia.

There were also 14 observers associated with the food industry.

AMBC Victoria's former president Mike Anderson chaired the conference.

Malaysian Consul-General here Datuk Dr Mohd Rameez Yahaya provided an insight into the Malaysian Government's Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), the country's aspirations to lift productivity levels of the agriculture sector and ensure food security in the decades to come.

He emphasised the importance of the Malaysia Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) and need for a win-win bilateral trade between Victoria and Malaysia.

AMBC Victoria President Joe Perri said the interest and enthusiasm of the participants in the inaugural roundtable had exceeded all the expectations of the organisers.

Matrade Director Noor Hayati Abu Noh said she was confident that such meetings would provide opportunities to build on the commercial advantages of MAFTA.

Flintoft outlined the Victorian government's Food to Asia Action Plan that was released earlier this year and range of considerations to be aware of when establishing or expanding an export market to Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region.

Mohd Asri supported by Syariman Mat Salleh explained the halal certification requirements and named the agencies that can assist Victorian exporters.

It was pointed out that halal certification from a recognised agency, together with Victoria's clean, green and environmentally sustainable practices were welcomed and recognised in the Malaysian marketplace.

Other topics discussed at the roundtable included future opportunities around MAFTA, the importance of market research and selection, understanding cultural differences, the role governments can assume in facilitating exports and initiatives around supporting the future growth of the agribusiness sector.


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