Impediments Facing New Zealand Exporters Developing
Markets in Southeast Asia
Lailani Burra and Md. Ismail Ahmad
The purpose of this study was to identify the impediments which New Zealand food exporters face when developing markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. A survey was conducted of large New Zealand food exporters. The findings are similar to those of Akoorie and Enderwick
(1990) who found that high domestic real interest rates, (non) availability of government export assistance and the ability to finance overseas operations, were among the top five concerns of New
Zealand exporters. In this study, the greatest impediment to the future development of markets in
Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and/or Thailand appears to be the depressed state of the New Zealand economy, accompanied by high interest rates and lack of export incentives, rather than any specific problems in the market itself. While the large firms which are already exporting to these markets will continue to expand their sales there, respondents felt that other firms would lack the financial capacity to enter the market.
Keywords: ASEAN, export markets, impediments, opportunities
With a small domestic population, the New Zealand economy depends heavily on exporting its produce. Traditionally, Britain has been the main destination for the bulk of New
Zealand's export trade. However, since Britain joined the European Economic Community
(EEC) in 1973, New Zealand has been forced to follow a policy of market diversification in order to find new destinations for former British bound exports, and to ensure that New
Zealand's welfare is not dependent upon events in one country.
New Zealand's need for new export markets coincided with an economic turnaround in the neighbouring Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) of Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines and Brunei. These countries, with a combined population of 300 million people and the highest growth rates in the world, offer considerable opportunities for
New Zealand exporters.
However, a study by Ahmad (1990) revealed that while other exporting countries have been quick to develop this market, New Zealand exporters have not been as aggressive. Although
New Zealand exports to ASEAN rose by 8% between 1987 and 1988, the absolute contribution of ASEAN exports to New Zealand has fallen from 6.14% of total exports in
1982 - 1983, to 4.73% in 1987 - 1988 (Ministry of External Relations and Trade, 1989).
While a great deal has been written about the problems which New Zealand exporters face generally, there has been very little attention given to the specific problems faced by exporters in the ASEAN region. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to identify the impediments which New Zealand food exporters face when developing markets in Singapore,
Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
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Marketing Bulletin, 1991, 2, 60-65, Research Note 2
Due to the limited amount of information on this subject, the research was of a preliminary nature. It was carried out by conducting ten face-to-face interviews with marketing or export managers of New Zealand organisations exporting to at least one of the four selected countries. The study was restricted to four countries to reduce its scope. Singapore, Malaysia,
Indonesia and Thailand were chosen because they are the four ASEAN countries in which
New Zealand exporters are most active.
The study was further restricted to food exporters in order to keep the focus of the research on market-specific rather than product-specific problems.
The firms which were able to be surveyed are very large by New Zealand standards. A recent study by Akoorie and Enderwick (1990) found that the average size of New Zealand exporting firms was 128 employees, and that this was higher than for nonexporting firms.
The average number of employees in