13 July 2021, Auckland, New Zealand.
The New Zealand Malaysia Business Association (NZMBA) with the Samoan Trade Commissioner and the New Zealand Samoa Trade and Investment Commission (NZSTIC) had a fruitful meeting at the office of Stace Hammond Lawyers on 13 July 2021, discussing bilateral trade and business opportunities between Malaysia, Samoa and New Zealand.
Samoa, a Pacific Island nation with a strong presence in NZ, has a largely agriculture-based economy. Current exports include seafood, mineral fuels, electrical machinery and equipment, and agricultural produce such as cocoa, taro, coconut, and palm oil. Malaysia and Samoa’s bilateral trade is negligible. Total trade from Jan to May 2021, stands at RM7,559,291 with imports from Samoa at RM 126,461. A substantial trade imbalance exists, which Samoa wants to address.
NZMBA together with their secretariat Stace Hammond Lawyers and the firm’s Managing Partner, Patrick Wilson, have encouraged Samoa to look into the halal market in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Tafilelea Fa’avae Gagamoe, Acting Chairman of NZSTIC explained to the NZMBA President, Dave Ananth, how Samoa and its pacific island neighbours, including Papua New Guinea would be able to work together through an extensive labour force network that was readily available to upscale production to meet expanding global markets. Growing industries in Samoa are IT, infrastructure – in particular, water and waste management, renewable energy such as solar, biofuels and wind.
Ananth relayed that Samoa’s Trade Commissioner, Hon. Magele Mauiliu Magele, who visited Malaysia in 2014 as Minister of Education, realises that there is a great opportunity to tap into Samoa and the greater Pacific Region. Ananth said in a message, the following day, “I just had a zoom meeting with a Malaysian company and told them about the opportunities in the Pacific region. They are keen to explore especially with the current Covid-19 situation over in Malaysia. Samoa and the Pacific islands need to be explored and we are here to open doors for them”, he added.
Samoa has tremendous potential for Malaysian companies, and we can be the conduit working with the Samoan Trade Commissioner, Ananth says. “The Covid pandemic has changed the landscape and business thinking. The world has changed. We need to look beyond now, it is not about just ROI’s but also about health and safety. Whilst some countries are still playing politics with Covid, my suggestion is that we move on and do business, plan now, then you are set to run when the borders are open”.