Two free trade zones at Sepangar Bay, POIC Lahad Datu suggested

KOTA KINABALU: There is a call for Sabah to set up two Free Trade Zones (FTZ), one in Sepangar Bay here and the another at the Lahad Datu Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC).

This has been suggested by the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Sabah (SME Sabah).

"Having FTZ would allow us to import agricultural produce from Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) region to combine with Sabah’s produce to make up the minimum export volume.

"With FTZ, local SMEs can process these imported products within their warehouse in the FTZ for re-export," said SME Sabah president Foo Ngee Kee.

He proposed this following the Consul General of China in Kota Kinabalu Huang Shifang's recent statement that although Sabah is rich in agricultural resources, the local production cannot meet up with the minimum volume as demanded by the China importers.

Huang raised this during the recent courtesy call paid by the association, said Foo in a statement on Wednesday (Aug 17).

During the courtesy call led by Foo, he also expressed hope the Consul General could help reach out to more investors from China to come to Sabah.

"For a start, China investors could set up light industries and invest in downstream operations for food processing like seafood, and beverages like fruit juices.

"Besides that, China investors could also invest in the manufacturing of industrial parts, to support the large processing plants in Sabah," he suggested.

There will also be cost advantages if China investors were to set up factories in Sabah, in terms of supply chain, delivery time and costs, he added.

"Cost advantages come when Sabah buyers will not need to source for those parts outside the state, as it could be manufactured locally.

"This also leads to shorter supply delivery time, as well as saving from logistic costs," he explained.

As a board member of Invest Sabah Bhd, Foo said he could help to facilitate and link interested China investors with the Invest Sabah Bhd management, to smoothen the investment process here.

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