In the first four months of the year, Malaysia's worldwide exports of food products reached RM1.17 billion (Euro 363 m). The figure for the entire year is set to increase beyond last year's figure of RM3.68 billion (Euro 1.14 bn), the New Straits Times reports. The government is encouraging the export of resource-based products, which include processed food. Towards this end, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) has planned several programmes to assist Malaysian exporters in expanding their global market share. The national trade promotion agency has published a series of business handbooks on the rules and regulations for the export of food to countries like Japan, South Korea, China and the US. The US, one of the world's largest consumers of a wide range of food products, is a key market for Malaysian exporters in the food sector. However, competition is intense, with the dominance of US partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) in many product categories while countries such as Thailand, Japan. Spain and Brazil are well entrenched. Malaysia's exports of food products to the US are small compared to the nation's total imports of these products. The bulk of Malaysia's exports, valued at RM230 million (Euro 71.3m) of food products last year, are comprised of seafood, cocoa butter, fruit and cereals. The paper highlights the fact that this relatively low export is attributed to the lack of awareness of the huge market, and the slow response of Malaysian exporters on the market and regulation needs such as the standard packaging for food product. The business guidebook outlines the import regulations, standards requirements and useful contacts for Malaysian exporters.