On 2 July 2020, more than 400 participants from Italy and ASEAN joined the webinar, titled ‘Post COVID-19 and Towards Reviving the Economy between Italy and ASEAN’. This webinar was organised by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), alongside the Italy-ASEAN Association and The European House– Ambrosetti. This digital event was among the four high-level digital roundtables held to keep the momentum of the 4th High-Level Dialogue on ASEAN-Italy Economic Relations, which has been postponed to 2021 in light of the pandemic.
The High-Level Dialogue programme is an exclusive dialogue and networking platform aimed to positively influence the economic and strategic relations between ASEAN countries and Italy. Key stakeholders from the public and private sector from these countries can tap upon this Dialogue to:
- Learn about the opportunities of the two regions in the context of the Euro-Asian geostrategic and geoeconomic relations;
- Interact on a concerted basis among peer visionary business leaders, together with the most influential politicians and opinion-makers of the two regions; and
- Build profitable political and economic partnerships to promote new investments and enhance trade relationships.
During the webinar, Dato’ Azman Mahmud, CEO of MIDA highlighted on investment opportunities in Malaysia for the Italian business community. He iterated there is much potential for high technology investments from Italy given Italy’s esteemed reputation for its high-quality machinery and technology, as well as Malaysia’s move towards strategic diversification to increase competitiveness, particularly in high-value products and high-end services. This is in addition to the penetration of smart manufacturing and the rise of Industry 4.0 in various sectors in Malaysia. For example, the use of additive manufacturing is being encouraged particularly in industries such as machinery, automotive, aerospace, electronic consumer products and medical/dental devices, said Dato’ Azman.
Italy represents the 10th largest investor from the European Union in the Malaysian manufacturing sector. As at 2019, 77 projects with Italian participation amounting to RM1.33 billion have been implemented within the country, creating over 4,600 jobs.
Among the portfolio of companies with Italian participation that have set up their operation in Malaysia includes STMicroelectronics, that have been operating in the country for more than 40 years, supported by more than 300 local vendors; EDA Industries which opened its Malaysian plant in October 2019, leveraging upon Malaysia’s strategic position to support its MNC clients in the region; as well as the Fassi Group, a global leader in manufacturing and distribution of loader cranes, that has strategically undertaken globalisation in its operations in Nilai, Seremban integrating its global projects into the local market by tapping on Malaysia’s well-developed machinery industry and ease of doing business.
To keep this momentum, MIDA is closely working with our Italian ecosystem partners and stakeholders such as the Embassy of Italy, Italian Trade Agency (ITA) and the Italian Malaysia Business Association (IMBA) to further enhance investment inflows. MIDA officials attached to our office in Milan have also been tenaciously seeking out industrial and technology collaborations with the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria), the Italy-ASEAN Association, SACE- Simest as well as notable business and industry chambers such as the Turin and Napoli Chambers. MIDA is optimistic that these engagements will realise into mutually beneficial outcomes; ultimately, fostering goodwill and spurring synergy in the region.