The ASEAN Market of some 600 Million consumers in recent years has grown in importance, yet many Australian companies are yet to venture into let alone take advantage of this region. Many have been drawn to the greater China market, and most have found it hard going. ASEAN has closer links, better levels of English in the business community and historical and cultural ties to Australia this on the back of high GDP growth in key countries makes it an interesting proposition.
In recent years, Australian food exporters have been faced with the challenge of a strong Australian Dollar, this can be offset if Australian producers look at the high end of the markets in ASEAN, there is a growing middle and upper class many of them have been educated in Australia and have become accustom to the taste and quality of Australian produce which can absorb the supply of Australian foods.
Why Malaysia? Malaysia as a country has for the first time have broken into the World Bank’s Top 10 of ease of doing business, due in most part by the reforms of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. Australia and Malaysia have enjoyed the closest ties amongst all the ASEAN countries, this has been punctuated by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s recent visit to Kuala Lumpur.
Next year Malaysia will also assume the chairmanship of ASEAN which will mean increased political importance in the region. Malaysia, with a population just under 30 million and another few million expatriate workers is seen as a gateway economy to the broader 600 Million consumers in ASEAN. Moving forward, the ground work for business cooperation has been done with the recent signing off the Malaysia – Australia Free Trade Agreement.
How will Australia compete in this market? There is a need to leverage off the unique positioning, the country brand, the regional or state brands, the levels of quality, food safety, allied brands like organic and halal and then there is the fact that logistically Australia and ASEAN are close. The most important aspect will be for the Australian business community to build the relationships with their counterparts in this part of the world.
In many countries, low levels of self-sufficiency for many crops and increasing demand, this has led to high prices for many products especially fruits & vegetables, meats, and speciality goods, will mean that imports will be required for some years to come.
The Malaysia Global Business Forum will hold a dedicated business matching program that will focus on the Food Trade, Production and Distribution sectors. The 3 days 2 night program which consists of a full day of business matching, site visits, business visits and a business lunch.
Australian Producers are encouraged to participate to take advantage the buyers from Malaysia and the region that will be attending. For more information follow the link or fill in the form below