Bright prospects for Malaysia-Canada bilateral trade

KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between Malaysia and Canada has bright prospects, given both countries' ability to withstand a global economic crisis, said Canada's International Trade Minister Ed Fast.

“Malaysia has done well in the global economic crisis and Canada has also fared well. Both countries have investments (in each other's country) and the challenge is to be able to take it to the next level,” he told StarBiz in an interview yesterday.

Fast noted that two prominent Malaysian entities Petroleum Nasional Bhd (Petronas) and Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) have made significant inroads into Canada.

“These companies have significant investments in Canada,” he said.

Petronas announced last year that it had bought half of Progress Energy Resources Corp's shale gas assets in north-eastern British Columbia, Canada, for RM3.32bil.

In December, Felda said it had formed a joint venture with Bunge Ltd to expand its oilseed crushing and refining business.

Fast said Felda was in partnership with Ensyn Technologies to produce bio-oil using palm biomass.

He also noted that Canadian companies such as Bombardier Inc and Talisman were major investors in Malaysia.

“There has to be a higher level of political engagement between both countries to boost bilateral trade between Canada and Malaysia,” Fast said, adding that bilateral trade between both countries averaged US$3.1bil (RM9.6bil) annually, with trade in favour of Malaysia.

Fast said he was looking forward to inviting International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed to Canada to develop a relationship that can foster better ties and trade development between both countries.