Business / Economy

Malaysia keen to expand trade ties

By Wu Yiyao in Xiamen, Fujian province (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-09 07:02

Education, services good sectors for partnership

Malaysia has its eyes on stronger business ties with China, and it may become one of China's gateways to overseas markets, said the Malaysian Prime Minister's Special Envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, at a conference during the 18th China International Fair for Investment and Trade.

Malaysia is the Guest Country of Honor at the 18th CIFIT in Xiamen, Fujian province, and has sent a delegation of more than 400 members to the four-day fair that is being held in the coastal city until Thursday.

"China has become the largest importer and second-largest exporter to Malaysia, and we hope that trade and investment between the two countries will further expand," said Ong.

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In 2013, the combined value of trade between China and Malaysia reached $106 billion, a record high that shows economic relations between the two countries have continued to grow, said Ong.

Malaysia is the third country in Asia after Japan and South Korea to have realized trade and investment value with China that exceeds $100 billion. This year, China and Malaysia commemorated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and this has presented an opportunity for the two countries to explore potential trade and investment deals and tighten business ties in the near future.

By the end of 2013, Malaysia's actually realized investment in China was $6.6 billion, with a total of 5,401 projects. This was almost six times China's outward investment in Malaysia, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

The gap between the two figures shows that Malaysia needs to make great efforts to attract more investors from China, said Ong.

"Malaysia has talent that speak multiple languages and understand the business world, and it has quite open economic policies," said Ong.

In the future, Malaysia will further develop its infrastructure and strengthen its links with overseas markets, leading to a more competitive and business-friendly environment.

Chinese investments in Malaysia have so far focused mainly on the manufacturing sector, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. Approved Chinese investment into Malaysia has increased since 2008, from 35.6 million yuan ($5.8 million) to 3 billion yuan in 2013.

Cooperation and partnerships in education, human resources and the service sector also offer great potential, said Ong.

"Xiamen University, a renowned higher-education institution, is launching a campus in Malaysia. When complete, about 10,000 students from Malaysia, China and the rest of the world will study there," said Ong.

Various departments and organizations from Malaysia, such as the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Malaysia, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia and the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce will be glad to assist investors from China and all over the world to understand Malaysia's investment environment, said Ong.

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