Asean-China free trade talks crucial for post-pandemic recovery, says PM
17 Sep 2023
Negotiations under the ongoing Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) 3.0 are crucial for post-pandemic recovery, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Prime Minister also said that talks under the ACFTA 3.0 will be important to enhance Asean-China trade and investment relations, as well as to ensure the free flow of goods and services.
“The inclusion of new growth areas – such as the digital economy, green economy, supply chain connectivity, competition, consumer protection and MSMEs – ensures the agreement’s relevance and foresight.
“Malaysia remains supportive and commends Asean and China’s efforts to conclude the ACFTA 3.0 Upgrade Negotiations by 2024,” said Anwar during his officiating speech for the 20th China-Asean Expo (CAExpo) on Sunday (Sept 17) morning.
CAExpo, from Sept 16 to 19, is taking place at the Nanning International Conference and Exhibition Centre in Nanning, which is in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
At the same time, Anwar said the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) has been instrumental in solidifying relations between China and all participating countries.
“Malaysia, as an early supporter, envisions this initiative as a gateway to new connectivity horizons and growth opportunities across Southeast Asia, Asia Pacific, Africa, Central and Eastern Europe.
“We deeply appreciate China’s unwavering support, particularly in ensuring that economic growth translates into shared prosperity,” said Anwar.
Anwar said the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) and China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) were examples of BRI projects that were developed under the “Two Countries, Twin Parks” concept.
“Beyond infrastructure, these parks have fostered people-to-people bonds and economic benefits.
“MCKIP has catalysed economic growth in Malaysia’s East Coast Region, creating jobs and establishing a crucial economic link between Malaysia, China and Southeast Asia,” said Anwar.
Anwar said that over the past 19 CAExpo editions, Malaysian companies have achieved commendable outcomes in China and Asean markets.
“The Malaysian Pavilion at this year’s CAEXPO, led by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), will showcase diverse sectors, attended by various Malaysia government agencies, SMEs, and leading organisations,” added Anwar.
Matrade is coordinating 107 Malaysian companies from various sectors including food and beverages, health and wellness. lifestyles, and among others, at the Malaysian Pavilion.
Meanwhile, Anwar said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a testament to Asean and China’s commitment to economic integration, ensuring supply chain resilience and market openness during global challenges.
“This highly ambitious free trade agreement covers nearly 30% of the world’s population, GDP and trade.
“It offers businesses competitive raw material sourcing, thanks to the progressive elimination of 92% of customs duties on goods, while promoting transparency, information sharing and economic cooperation,” said Anwar.
Anwar is set to launch the Malaysia Pavilion on Sunday (Sept 17) morning and he will be having a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.
This is Anwar’s second visit to China and second bilateral meeting with Li.
Anwar’s first visit in March saw Malaysia secure a record RM170bil worth of investment commitments from China.
Source: The Star