Azmin urges Qatar companies to partner with Malaysian businesses
27 Mar 2022
Qatari companies have been urged to take advantage of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by partnering with Malaysian companies and subsequently being part of the new regional economic landscape.
Senior Minister cum Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the RCEP paves the way for businesses in the region to integrate into the world’s largest free trade agreement.
He tweeted that during his meeting with Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Thani, he had informed his counterpart that the RCEP has come into force for Malaysia.
The RCEP covers 15 countries with a combined population of 2.3 billion people or 30 per cent of the world’s population, accounting for about 30 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP).
Aside from tariff reductions, the RCEP also addresses trade liberalisation, boosts trade facilitation and enhances the business environment.
During the meeting, both parties also acknowledged the importance of the Malaysia-Qatar Joint Trade Committee (JTC) in identifying potential new areas of bilateral cooperation.
“To give our bilateral trade a new impetus, I proposed that Malaysia and Qatar set a trade target of US$1 billion (US$1 = RM4.21) by 2025.
“I believe that this target is attainable as our bilateral trade increased by 24.4 per cent last year, and Malaysia’s exports to Qatar increased by 31.9 per cent in 2021 compared to 2020 despite the unprecedented economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mohamed Azmin.
He added that both governments have agreed to hold the third JTC Meeting in order to chart the future path of economic growth of both countries, focusing on the strategic and high impact sectors.
“Malaysia and Qatar will also continue to work on the Investment Guarantee Agreement to encourage more cross-border investments between the two countries as we strive for a strong and sustainable economic recovery,” he said.
The senior minister was one of the members of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s delegation during the prime minister’s official visit to Qatar.
Qatar is an important trading partner for Malaysia with a trade volume of close to US$0.8 billion in 2019, although this had declined to US$ 0.5 billion and US$ 0.63 billion in 2020 and 2021, respectively, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qatar’s Agrico to invest in Malaysia’s Agri industry and palm-based manufacturing
In another tweet, Mohamed Azmin said Qatar’s Agrico Agriculture Development W.L.L. (Agrico) is interested in expanding its project to produce high-quality organic products in Malaysia and is in the process of acquiring a 40.5-hectare plot of land in Cameron Highlands.
The project entails a US$200 million investment in Malaysia over a three-year period.
Agrico owns and operates a hydroponic organic farm, located 58 kilometres from Doha.
The farm’s annual output averages at 3,000 tonnes, of which more than 90 per cent are supplied to the local market.
The company also plans to invest another US$160 million to venture into oil palm-based manufacturing in Malaysia, including the production of cooking oil, as well as composting palm tree waste as a high-quality substrate for the hydroponic system.