Dr Wee: Mutually recognised vaccine passport needed for Malaysia-EU economic recovery

PETALING JAYA: The Covid-19 vaccine passport is crucial to pave the way for mutual economic recovery between Malaysia and the European Union, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister held a meeting with European Union Ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas on Friday (April 23).

"We discussed the way forward for EU-Malaysia relations in the transport and connectivity dimension and pledged to foster closer partnerships between our public and private sectors.

"I emphasised that in Malaysia's post-pandemic recovery, our aviation sector and its future is heavily dependent on the need for a mutually recognised 'vaccine passport' for any vaccine approved by the WHO and implemented under the guidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA)," he said in a Facebook post on Friday.

He said this was crucial to pave the way for mutual economic recovery in a post-Covid-19 environment when Malaysia can eventually resume full commercial flights with our partner states.

"The EU is an important trade and investment partner for Malaysia: In 2020, the EU is our fifth largest trading partner.

"Bilateral trade between us equalled €35.244bil in 2020 with EU's imports from Malaysia amounting to €24.7bil," he said.

Dr Wee also said Malaysia has concluded Air Services Agreements (ASA) with 23 out of 28 member states of the European Union, which would enable our airlines to get back to operating together on the right footing.

"Rokas and I touched on the need to collaborate on broad-based planning for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure for public and personal transport in Malaysia.

"I invited the EU to work with Malaysian companies and the ministry to develop policies that would support this ambition in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.

"I said that we needed to rollout the adoption of EV in a way that does not unduly burden the people, the related industries, and the sub-sectors even as we strive to be competitive with our neighbours," he said.

Dr Wee added that he appreciated Rokas' positive outlook on Malaysia as a destination for investment with our good fundamentals as he conveys their companies' willingness to expand operations in Malaysia.

He said they both looked forward to having Malaysian companies collaborate further with their EU counterparts.

"We also discussed the general state of EU-Malaysia relations with regards to transport and connectivity, including the state of the Comprehensive Air Transport Agreement (CATA) between EU and Asean.

"There have been eight rounds of negotiations on the Asean-EU CATA to date with the last meetings held from Nov 20-22,2018 in Salzburg, Austria," he said.

Dr Wee added that during the negotiations, both sides concluded 21 out of 29 articles in the draft text of the Asean-EU CATA.

"The negotiations are still ongoing through the exchange of notes between Singapore, as the lead negotiator for Asean, with the European Commission.

"Now, the mandate to conclude the negotiations between Asean and the EU is given until June this year. I hope that we can conclude all of the outstanding articles amicably," he said.

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