Malaysia, US reaffirm commitment to strengthen bilateral economic ties — MITI
16 Feb 2023
Malaysia and the United States (US) today reaffirmed their commitment to intensify collaboration to strengthen bilateral economic ties, as well as at the multilateral and regional levels, said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti).
In a statement today, it said the commitment was made during the meeting between Miti Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and his US counterpart, Trade Representative Katherine Tai, at Menara Miti earlier today.
The ministry said, as champions of the multilateral trading system, Malaysia and the US shared a strong track record of progressive outcomes in various international fora.
Noting the need to strengthen regional economic integration, Tengku Zafrul commended the role of the US in pioneering the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a 14-member regional trade alliance that discusses trade facilitation; supply chain resiliency; clean energy, decarbonisation and climate change; as well as tax and corruption.
“Tai shared that the US envisions IPEF deliverables to be pragmatic and forward-looking as it is not a conventional trade agreement.
“Echoing Tai’s statement, Tengku Zafrul added that it is crucial for IPEF to outline tangible outcomes towards achieving common trade and investment objectives in the Indo-Pacific region,” it said.
According to Miti, both Tengku Zafrul and Tai agreed that compliance with the principles of environmental, social and governance (ESG) in businesses is the key way forward.
“In ensuring inclusive adoption, Tengku Zafrul emphasised on a just transition towards embracing ESG and the need to address the key challenge of varying levels of development that will require support in capacity-building, in which the US, as one of ESG’s key advocates, could play a crucial role,” it added.
Meanwhile, Tengku Zafrul also expressed enthusiasm towards engaging in tangible discussions with the US, as the chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2023, and other APEC economies in uplifting innovation, digitalisation, inclusivity and sustainability agenda this year, especially in advancing the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises.
“In this regard, Malaysia believes that the APEC 2023 theme, ‘Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All’ is apt and relevant to address the current economic challenges towards attaining APEC’s objective.
“As founding members of APEC, Malaysia and the US have a pertinent role to assume in achieving APEC deliverables, particularly in supporting the realisation of Putrajaya Vision 2040 launched during Malaysia’s chairmanship of APEC in 2020, where the leaders were resolute in advancing the agenda to achieve an open, dynamic, resilient and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040 for the prosperity of its people and future generations,” said Miti.
The US is presently Malaysia’s third largest trading partner after China and Singapore.
Currently, there are more than 600 US companies operating in Malaysia with major investments in the electrical and electronics and renewable energy sectors.
In 2022, total trade between Malaysia and the US grew by 23.3 per cent to RM267.58 billion (US$60.70 billion) compared with RM216.97 billion (US$52.33 billion) in 2021.