Deeper trade ties with China to mark post-pandemic economic recovery

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is willing to deepen bilateral cooperation with China as both countries enter an era of post-pandemic economic recovery, says Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong (pic).

He said the economic relationship between Malaysia and China remained strong and stable amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I strongly believe that the close cooperation between Malaysia and China will benefit all of us in the realm of economy and trade,” he said in his keynote speech during an online conference titled “Upgrading China-Malaysia’s Two Countries, Twin Park Partnership” centred on investment cooperation yesterday.

The online forum was organised by the Chinese government and the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (CMQIP) administrative committee.

Lim said China had been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 12 years and Malaysia was China’s main trading partner in Asean with a total trade of US$131.16bil (RM542.54bil) recorded in 2020 – a sign of the deepening development of trade.

On the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mooted in 2013, Lim said Malaysia was among its earliest supporters.

“The Second Belt and Road Forum in 2019 saw the establishment of the ‘Two Countries, Twin Park’ concept, namely the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP) and CMQIP, as a symbol of the success of the BRI.

“As the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is about to be fully implemented, Malaysia-China economic and trade cooperation is expected to have greater development prospects in the future,” he added.

Lim said ties under the “Two Countries, Twin Park” initiative could be boosted by strengthening bilateral investment promotion and encouraging more Chinese enterprises to enter the MCKIP to gain a foothold in the Asean market.

He also encouraged more Malaysian companies to invest and set up factories in the CMQIP as a window to the vast inland markets in China and suggested that both nations strengthen investment projects in palm oil, rubber, bird’s nest, durian and halal food to further solidify trade relations.

Lim said officials from Malaysia’s International Trade and Industry Ministry and China’s Ministry of Commerce were working closely to formulate the second cycle of its five-year programme for economic and trade cooperation.

“Some of the new areas of cooperation in the programme include digital economy, entrepreneur development, research and development in agriculture and primary industries.

“There will also be cooperation in line with the Industrial Revolution 4.0, provincial engagement and industrial capacity development,” he added.

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