By Evelyn Chiu
The experience of living in these different countries has instilled in Mustafa a sense of good values. He believes that “the right attitude can bring you everywhere,” and that’s now where Mustafa is – receiving respect as a Senior Trade Commissioner, having a family-like staff, and being loved by his wife and sons.
Every country has its uniqueness. I gain invaluable experience from living and traveling around the world. The whole experience is a process for myself which has helped grow the value of strength, love, a well-rounded person, loyalty, and sincerity. ” said the current Senior Trade Commissioner, Mustafa Aziz, of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) in New York Office.
Between his role as Senior Trade Commissioner and his personal love of travel, Mustafa has traveled to almost 60 different countries on all continents. Mustafa’s first overseas assignment was in Paris in July 1997, which gave him plenty of exposure to the countries on the European continent. “Europe has always been Europe. When I was in Paris, I got the chance to travel to most of Europe.” After three and a half years in Paris, Mustafa was assigned to Dubai. “I was tasked to establish the first Malaysia Trade Centre in Dubai, which was certainly a memorable experience for me since Dubai was such a vibrant, booming and results-oriented market. For every promotion we did we could directly see the result.” Later, Mustafa continued his duty in Tokyo. “Tokyo has a totally different culture and has its own discipline. I brought that discipline back with me and practice it in my daily life.” After staying in Tokyo for almost four years, and having been away for more than a decade, Mustafa was back to MATRADE headquarters in Malaysia. In July 2011, Mustafa was newly assigned to the MATRADE New York office. “The United States is a free country. I was trained and studied in the United States, so I see the U.S. from a different angle compared to other countries, and it is quite an unusually multi-cultural country.”
MATRADE is the national export promotion agency of the government of Malaysia that promotes Malaysia’s exports of products and services, and enables local companies to carve new frontiers in global markets. It has three offices in the United States, namely New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. The U. S. is now ranked fourth among the top 10 trading partners of Malaysia, after China, Singapore and Japan. In 2010, the U.S.-Malaysia bilateral trade totaled $40 billion, with Malaysia’s exports amounting to $26 billion, and imports amounting to $14 billion.
The Malaysia Kitchen for the World campaign is one of the most remarkable programs of MATRADE. This campaign has sites in New York City, London, Sydney, Auckland and Beijing, and is designed to educate and inform consumers about Malaysian cuisine and Malaysian restaurants throughout the world. Since 2010, Malaysia Kitchen in New York City has implemented massive promotions through events, festivals, master chef activities, and activities at local supermarkets selling Malaysian food products. The outcome of the 2010 Malaysia Kitchen campaign has benefited 30 restaurants with a 25 – 50% increase in exposure and sales.
From January to August 2011, the exports of Malaysian processed food to the U.S. amounted to $394m (US), an increase of over 5.72% compared to the same corresponding period of 2010. MATRADE is hoping that more Malaysian food products will penetrate the US market as a result of the activities undertaken by the Malaysian Kitchen Program.
Succeeding the previous MATRADE Senior Trade Commissioner in New York, Wan Latiff Wan Musa, Mustafa is looking forward to continuing Malaysia Kitchen’s success in 2012 by bringing more signature Malaysian dishes to New York, expanding the media engagement, increasing food product exposure in supermarkets, and hosting more relevant events.
If you want to know more about MATRADE or Malaysian Kitchen please visit their website at www.matrade.gov.my or www.malaysiakitchennyc.com