KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Malaysia and China are currently finalising the first draft of the second cycle of the Five-Year Programme for Economic and Trade Relations, said Deputy International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong.
“Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia and China will continue to focus on economic cooperation which will bring mutual benefits for both economies,” he said in a statement, today.
Lim had a virtual meeting with Li Chenggang, Assistant Minister of China’s Commerce Ministry, discussing strengthening trade, investment, and economic cooperation between the two countries against the backdrop of the pandemic.
Also participating in the meeting were senior officials from both ministries.
Lim said China has been Malaysia’s major trading partner since 2009, and the trade momentum between both countries will continue to be enhanced through strategic engagements by the public and private sectors.
“China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 11 consecutive years since 2009. In 2019, our total trade accounted for US$123.96 billion.
“China is also Malaysia’s largest export destination and largest import source. For the period January-October 2020, total trade with China increased by 3.5 per cent to reach US$103.93 billion (US$1 = RM4.14) compared with the corresponding period in 2019,” he said.
He also said that during the meeting both sides emphasised the continuous engagements to strengthen the cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and further enhance regional and multilateral cooperation.
Malaysia also suggested to explore deepening trade and investment opportunities in provinces in China.
“Malaysia is focused on attracting quality investments in capital-intensive, high-value added and high-technology projects, given that China is Malaysia’s leading source of foreign direct investment,” Lim said.
From January to September 2020, 58 manufacturing projects with participation from China were approved with investments totalling US$4.4 billion.
China is the largest investor for this period and these projects were expected to create 8,724 jobs.
Projects were mainly in the industry of basic metal products, electronics and electrical (E&E) products, non-metallic mineral products, machinery and equipment (M&E), and wood and wood products.
Some notable projects approved are Baojia New Energy Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (M&E), SRE Power Technology Sdn Bhd (E&E) and China Tangxing Equipment (M) Sdn Bhd (M&E).
During the virtual meeting, both sides also exchanged the current progress of the industrial parks, namely the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park.