Irish exporters aim to regain Malaysia market share
Irish exports to Malaysia plunged 36 percent, year-over-year, in the first half of 2012, an even more dramatic decline than the drop recorded in 2011. Hugh Kelly, the chairman of the Irish Exporters Association’s Asia Trade Forum, said it’s a situation that must be reversed.
“The Malaysian market is the third largest in Southeast Asia, has withstood the global economic slump, and has successfully expanded its economy by 5.4 percent in the last quarter,” Kelly said in a statement. “It has hosted three of the world’s six largest IPOs by companies this year. It is a key Asian market.”
During the Asia Trade forum, Kelly encouraged his contingents to take advantage of the Malaysian government’s low-cost access to local-currency finance and its net external creditor status. He also cited recent reforms to Malaysia’s public-sector enterprises, which are protecting individuals from near-team payment risks, as another factor propelling trade.
Kelly sees a lot of growth potential, in particular, for food and drink exports to Malaysia. Pointing to popular Irish brands like Guinness and Jameson, Kelly said St. Patrick’s Day provides a great opportunity for Irish exporters to increase traffic to Malaysia, among other regions.
He also praised the pro-trade efforts of the Irish embassy staff in Kuala Lumpur as well as Enterprise Ireland and the Irish food board, Bord Bia, but said more front-loaded spending is needed to promote Ireland’s image in Malaysia. “This is necessary to provide the platform from which Irish exporters of goods and services can launch into and grow in this strong and growing market,” Kelly said in a statement.