Australian produce in the spotlight in Malaysia and Myanmar
Australian produce exports will feature on restaurant menus in Kuala Lumpur throughout June when the Malaysian capital hosts the Flavours of Australia Festival.
About 20 restaurants in Kuala Lumpur are to participate in the festival, which highlights the high quality and safety standards of Australian produce and ingredients.
The Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) says the Flavours of Australia Festival, which it presents in collaboration with the Australian High Commission, “dovetails with a rising trend in Malaysia towards restaurant dining and an increasing awareness of culinary standards”.
The Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, H.E. Miles Kupa, said Malaysians are already familiar with Australia’s wide variety of produce, especially its fruit, meat, dairy and wine products.
“During Flavours of Australia, we also want to emphasise its high standards of safety and quality,” Mr Kupa said.
Malaysian-born Adam Liaw, who won Masterchef Australia in 2010, is the event’s guest chef and will participate in a number of events.
“Thanks to the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA), which came into force on 1 January this year, Malaysian importers can now source more Australian produce for the local consumer,” Mr Kupa said.
Austrade said MAFTA “virtually eliminates tariffs on processed foods, guarantees the best tariff treatment of wine, and offers a liberalised licensing arrangement for liquid milk”.
According to data released in the Australian Government’s ‘Australian Food Statistics 2011-12’ report, Australian food exports to Malaysia in 2011-12 were worth $875 million, up from $849 million in 2010-11. Grains made up the largest percentage of Australian exports to Malaysia, followed by meat and dairy products.
Austrade to open Myanmar office
The Kualar Lumpur food festival comes as Austrade prepares to open an office in Myanmar (Burma), reflecting a high level of interest from Australian companies in exploring opportunities in the Southeast Asian region.
Austrade says that, after decades of military rule, the government of resource-rich Myanmar is implementing a range of reforms to attract foreign direct investment, which it sees as “fundamental to achieving sustainable economic development and improving living standards for its people”.
The sectors that are attracting the most interest from Australian companies include food and beverages, resources, infrastructure and education, according to Mark Wood, Austrade’s newly appointed Trade Commissioner in Myanmar’s trade centre Yangon.
Mr Wood’s appointment followed an Australian Government decision to open an office in Myanmar to help Australian businesses expand into Asia’s growth and emerging markets.