BANGKOK: Asean has been urged to find ways for its member states to join hands together to cushion any possible fallout from the trade war between the United States and China.
Making the call, International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking said a trade war between the two global economic superpowers will affect everyone.
“In Asean, if we can find a way to get together, we can probably reduce the effect (of a US-China trade war). If the European Union (EU) are doing something, then Asean should also do something,” he told Bernama at the end of his three-day working visit to Thailand yesterday.
Asean, according to him, is very fortunate to have partners that want to work with the grouping such as Australia, New Zealand and even China to try to cushion the impact from the trade war.
Asean’s possible common response to the US-China trade war was discussed when Darell met Thailand’s Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong yesterday.
The Malaysian minister said Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok will find common ground to ensure the two neighbours avoid the impact from the spiralling trade war between the US and China.
During the meeting last Saturday with Sontijirawong, Darell also said Malaysia and Thailand, being palm oil producers, will support each other as both countries counter possible EU sanctions on the commodity.
He lashed out at the European countries for trying to dictate the palm oil industry.
“They don’t grow oil palm. I find it very difficult for them to tell me what I should do with my trees. That doesn’t jive with me,” he said, adding that hundreds of thousands of people depend on the palm oil industry in Malaysia.
He said the government’s effort in defending the country’s palm oil industry from possible EU sanctions is not about protecting businessmen but more about saving the country’s future.
Darell, who arrived in Bangkok two days ago, said Thailand also sounded its intention of tapping into Malaysia’s expertise in palm oil technology.
On his meeting with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), the influential group gave a commitment of their continued support to ensuring Malaysia receives more mutually beneficial investments from Thailand. He also asked the FTI to consider Sabah and Sarawak as possible investment destinations.
The FTI, he said, is excited about the new opportunities offered by the new Malaysia.
Darell also urged all the relevant agencies in Malaysia to strive to reduce bureaucracy so as to facilitate more investments into the country. — Bernama
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