KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia and India have great potential to expand bilateral trade and investment beyond the expected targets, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the two countries were already on track to achieving some RM35bil worth of trade this year, which is an increase of 64% from RM22.5bil worth of trade last year.
Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said his optimism was particularly buoyed by the Malaysia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ceca), signed in February and put in force from July this year.
“We are confident that with the rollout of Ceca and continued government focus, the targeted RM47.7bil trade target will be met by 2015 and quite possibly before,” he said in his keynote address at a Ceca commemoration gala dinner held at a hotel here last night.
Also present were Indian Minister of State for Textiles Panabaka Lakshmi, Malaysia-India Business Council president Tan Sri Krishnan Tan, Malaysia-India CEO Forum co-chairman Malvinder Singh and Confederation of Indian Industries Malaysia president Umang Sharma.
Najib noted that while the trade figures were promising, Malaysian and Indian companies had yet to take full advantage of the trade and investment opportunities available in each other’s countries.
“As with the overall bilateral trade volume set by both governments, the key stakeholders in specific sectors should also collectively set ambitious targets.
“This approach is especially relevant within the many areas in which the introduction of Ceca has delivered new incentives and removed historic limitations and barriers,” he said.
The prime minister stressed that chambers of commerce and industry in India played a key role in “sharing” their views with Malaysia on what needed to be done to attract Indian investment.
Likewise, the Ceca complemented The Asean-India Free Trade Agreement (Aifta), positioning Malaysia as an ideal entry point destination for Indian entrepreneurs into South-East Asia, he added.
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