Deeper bilateral relations with China sought for post-pandemic economic recovery

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia stands ready to deepen bilateral cooperation with China as the two countries enter an era of post-pandemic economic recovery.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Lim Ban Hong said economic relations between Malaysia and China have remained strong and stable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I firmly believe that the close cooperation between Malaysia and China will benefit us all in the field of economy and trade,” he said in his opening speech at a conference in line titled “Upgrading the two Sino-Malaysian countries, Twin Park partnership” focused on investment cooperation on Saturday (Sept. 11).

The online forum was hosted by the Chinese government and the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park Administrative Committee (CMQIP).

Lim, who is also vice chairman of MCA, said China has been Malaysia’s biggest trading partner for 12 years and Malaysia has been China’s biggest trading partner in ASEAN.

He said that according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, a total trade of 131.16 billion US dollars (542.54 billion RM) was recorded in 2020 – a sign of the deepening of trade development.

Referring to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mentioned in 2013, he said Malaysia was one of his early supporters.

“The second Belt and Road Forum in 2019 saw the creation of the ‘Two countries, twin park’ concept, namely the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) and the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) as a symbol of the success of the BIS.

“As the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) is on the verge of being fully implemented, the economy and trade between Malaysia and China should have better development prospects in the future.” , Lim said.

He proposed to strengthen the ties in the “Two Countries, Twin Park” initiative by strengthening the promotion of bilateral investment and encouraging more Chinese enterprises to enter MCKIP to gain a foothold in the ASEAN market.

“In the meantime, more Malaysian companies are encouraged to invest and set up factories in the CMQIP as a window into China’s vast domestic markets,†he said.

Lim also suggested that the two countries step up their investment projects in palm oil, rubber, bird’s nests, durian and halal foods to further solidify the trade relationship.

Lim said officials from Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry and China’s Ministry of Commerce are working closely to formulate the second cycle of its five-year economic and trade cooperation program.

“Some of the programme’s new areas of cooperation include the digital economy, entrepreneurial development, research and development in agriculture and primary industries.

“There will also be cooperation in line with industrial revolution 4.0, provincial engagement and industrial capacity development,” he added.

He hoped that such efforts would result in strategic collaborations between the private sectors of Malaysia and China in new fields and high-tech industries.

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