MITI at the forefront of China mission
30 Mar 2023
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) is organising a trade and investment mission to Beijing, Ningbo City and Hong Kong in conjunction with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s visit to China.
The mission, led by its minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, will see the ministry meeting with seven reputable companies from China for one-on-one business meetings.
“The companies I am meeting face-to-face are in sectors such as big data solutions, industrial eCommerce and electric vehicles (EVs),” Tengku Zafrul said.
Additionally, Tengku Zafrul said his ministry, Miti, will be leading two programmes, namely the “Malaysia-China Business Forum” which will host a total of 1,000 Malaysian and Chinese business leaders as well as captains of industry in Beijing.
“The second event is the Prime Minister’s roundtable meeting with high profile Chinese investors and captains of industry,” Tengku Zafrul said, adding that both the events offer the opportunity for business leaders to engage directly with Anwar on key global issues and emerging opportunities in Malaysia.
Tengku Zafrul is set to moderate the engagements between Prime Minister and high-profile investors for the roundtable meeting as well as the business forum.
He said China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years since 2009, further indicating a strong and long standing economic relationship between the two countries.
“Malaysia and China complement each other economically. We have robust industrial linkages, and there is also close people-to-people connection,” Tengku Zafrul said.
Miti intends to further develop the existing Malaysia-China bilateral relationship by seeking out new areas of collaboration.
However, the approach will be more targeted, focusing on activities and sectors that will create high paying jobs for Malaysians and help foster innovation and growth of local businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), through industrial linkages.
Tengku Zafrul believes foreign direct investment (FDI) is crucial for Malaysia’s growth, as it not only helps in growing the economy and generating jobs, but also encourages domestic direct investments through supply chain linkages.
He added China is currently the top source of FDI worldwide, with some US$90bil (RM397bil) invested for the first nine months of 2022, surpassing the United States and Japan with FDI value of US$66bil (RM291bil) and US$40bil (RM176bil) respectively.
Apart from FDI, Tengku Zafrul said China also contributes significantly to the global tourism industry as well as Malaysia’s tourism industry.
“Roughly 3.11 million Chinese tourists visited Malaysia in 2019, accounting for 12% of our total tourist arrivals. They spent roughly RM15.3bil, which accounted for 17.8% of Malaysia’s total tourist receipts,” he explained.
Therefore, the Miti minister believes Malaysia should leverage on strong trade, historical, and cultural ties with China to not only boost the bilateral trade and investment, but also promote tourism between the two countries.
Bringing the Asean context into focus, Tengku Zafrul believes both China and Asean have a huge role in Asia’s sustainable growth.
He said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will boost trade and investment between Asean member economies and nations like Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
“China has witnessed a year-on-year trade increase of 15% with Asean in 2022, the first year RCEP went into effect,” he said, adding Malaysia’s trade with China also grew by 15.6% in 2022.
“I would like to ensure that Malaysian businesses and SMEs can continue to benefit from the bilateral and multilateral trade growths,” Tengku Zafrul said.
Pointing out some trade numbers Tengku Zafrul said, in 2022, bilateral trade with China represented 17.1% of Malaysia’s total trade, and had expanded by 15.6% to US$110.6bil (RM487bil) compared to 2021.
Malaysia’s exports to China, on the other hand, expanded by 9.4% to RM210.6bil, the highest value ever recorded and surpassed the RM200bil mark for the first time.
China was also Malaysia’s largest import source, accounting for 21.3% of total imports in 2022, climbing by 20.7% on-year, to RM276.5bil, he added.
On the investment front, China was the highest FDI source for Malaysia in 2022 with investments amounting to RM55.4bil.
“I have given Miti and our agencies a target of 20% more FDI for 2023, and I am confident China will continue to be a major contributor to that increase,” Tengku Zafrul said.
He is optimistic the Prime Minister’s visit to China will amplify investor and business confidence in the expansion of Malaysia’s economic relations.
Source: The Star