KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and China have set a new record in bilateral trade, registering a 14.2% growth to US$124 bil (RM503.32 bil) in 2019 from US$108.6 bil in 2018.

China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian said the growth demonstrated Chinese investors’ continuous support and confidence in Malaysia following 45 years of long-standing bilateral relationship.

“When our investors come to Malaysia, they would not only look at the country’s fundamentals but also the bilateral relationship between the countries and what they can expect in a long-term investment.

“We believe that with the encouraging investment atmosphere and friendship with Malaysia, we will continue to work closely and create greater awareness on investment opportunities in Malaysia,” he told a press conference after a memorandum of agreement (MoA) signing ceremony here today.

The MoA was inked between InvestKL’s China Special Channel (CSC) and Chinese Business Chambers.

Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking said the CSC acts as a single window focusing on attracting high-technology, high-value and high-impact investments from China.

CSC also redirects identified investment opportunities via active collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) regionally, as well as states in the country.

“Previously it took about six to nine months to approve an investment, but with this CSC, we are simplifying the process and will look into the matter every month, as the Chinese cannot wait too long following the ongoing the US-China trade issue,” said Leiking.

Earlier at the InvestKL Economic Outlook 2020 panel discussion, he said Malaysia should also be tapping into the agriculture, automotive and information and communications technology (ICT) sectors to strengthen the country’s competitiveness and improve the supply chain in the respective sectors.

With the adoption of Industry 4.0, Malaysia, he said, is capable of producing more of its own food and products thus enabling the country to become self-reliant in the future.

Meanwhile, Pamela Qiu, the Network director of the Southeast Asia chapter of The Economist Corporate Network, said Malaysia is projected to grow at about 4.4% this year.

“This is despite the uncertainty of the external economic environment in the next 12 months which includes the US-China trade war.

“While global growth is expected to grow at an average of 2.4%, Malaysia’s steady growth rate coupled with the right and high-skilled workers, infrastructure as well as English-speaking population would help to attract more foreign direct investments,” she said.

She added however that tricky issues surrounding the US-China trade war, the position of countries which are splitting the global trade system and destabilising the global financial system following the trade war, and low global growth could dampen the positive outlook of the economy. – Jan 20, 2020 Bernama

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