Business

Malaysia to pursue bilateral FTAs if TPPA fails

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed

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Written by Syndicated News

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 2017 : Malaysia may look into the possibility of pursuing bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with the relevant Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members should the TPP Agreement (TPPA) fail to materialise, said Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The country would also prioritise strengthening the economic integration within Asean, as well as pushing for the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, he said in a statement released by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) here today.

Mustapa, who led the Malaysian delegation to the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland from Jan 17-20, said this when asked on Malaysia’s strategy if the TPPA fails to materialise during a business luncheon held in Davos.

The luncheon, attended by 50 existing and potential international investors from various sectors and countries was jointly hosted by Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).

Against the backdrop of rising protectionist sentiments in a number of countries, the minister assured the international community that the country was not in retreat, stressing that Malaysia remained open for business.

“Foreign investments have played a major role in our economic development and we will continue to welcome high quality investments, especially in the catalytic subsectors, namely chemicals, electrical and electronics, and
machinery and equipment, as well as other high potential growth areas including aerospace, medical devices and digital economy,” he added.

Mustapa said Malaysia has been a major beneficiary of foreign direct investment, which had also contributed to the country’s exports given that a large number of foreign companies operating in Malaysia were 100 per cent
export-oriented.

“The presence of foreign companies in our economy has also provided our local small and medium enterprises access to valuable technology transfer and exchange of know-how, which are crucial in developing their capabilities which
will allow them to be part of the global supply chain,” said the minister.

During the luncheon, Mustapa has also responded to several questions raised by the audience, mainly on the direction of the Malaysian economy, especially in the context of President Donald Trump’s administration and the current status of the economic integration of Asean.

To this end, he urged the investors to take advantage of the numerous opportunities available in the dynamic region of Asean by using Malaysia as the gateway.

Citing an example, he said, a large number of foreign companies such as Novartis, Roche, General Electric and Standard Chartered had made Malaysia their regional hubs.

He further reiterated Malaysia’s strengths including its political stability, strong economic fundamentals and track record, business-friendly policies, excellent infrastructure, strategic position within Asean, as well as
facilitation of investment through MIDA.

“Despite the current challenging climate, our gross domestic product growth rate remains among the highest in the region and emerging markets,” he said.

Also present at the luncheon were Khazanah Nasional Managing Director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, AirAsia Bhd chairman Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and CIMB Group Chairman, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak. – Bernama

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