European Companies Urged To Exploit Opportunities In Malaysia

LONDON, April 27
(Bernama) — Malaysia’s strategic location in the middle of Asean
countries provides the logical base for UK companies to penetrate the
Asean and East Asia markets.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, in
stating this, said Malaysia also offers opportunities for UK
businessmen through a proactive government that is friendly to
businesses and foreign investors.

The huge market potential within Asean placed Malaysia in the right
place at the right time for business opportunities going forward, he
said in a keynote address at the Seminar on Trade and Investment
Opportunities in Malaysia.

He encouraged the business communities in the United Kingdom and the
European Union to take advantage of Malaysia’s position as an important
business partner within the framework of Asean, which has a population
of 575 million and gross domestic product (GDP) of US$1.2 trillion and
envisaged to be an economic community by 2015.

The seminar is held in conjunction with the ongoing trade and
investment Mission to Europe organised by the Malaysian Industrial
Development Authority (Mida) and Malaysian External Trade Development
Corporation (Matrade).

Mustapa said UK importers should look into sourcing higher value-added
products from Malaysia and a wide variety of quality halal products and
services available in Malaysia.

“There is huge potential for growth in the halal market when one
considers that the wholesome, hygienic and contamination-free
principles associated with halal products and services also make them
appealing to non-Muslims,” he said.

He also invited UK businessmen to the annual Malaysia International
Halal Showcase (MIHAS) which will be held from May 6 to 10 in Kuala

Malaysia’s total trade with the UK last year amounted to US$5.14
billion, with exports at US$2.85 billion and imports at US$2.3 billion.

Mustapa said Malaysia also continued to remain a competitive
destination for foreign direct investment inflows in manufacturing
sector last year, accounting for RM46.1 billion or RM73.4 percent of
the RM62.8 billion worth of investment approved in the manufacturing
sector last year.

He said that 2008 marked the fifth consecutive year of increase in
foreign investments into Malaysia, which received RM33.4 billion in
investments in 2007.

The minister said the UK was ranked the eighth largest source of
foreign investment in Malaysia and third largest from the EU, with 355
manufacturing projects worth US$1.221 billion implemented, mainly in
chemicals and chemical products; electronics and electrical products;
petrochemical products; non-metallic minerals products; food
manufacturing; pharmaceuticals; and aerospace.

He said the Malaysian government was aggressively promoting and
developing new sources of growth for the economy, and current focus was
mainly on high value added, knowledge-intensive and high technology
industries where potential partners could come from the UK.

Malaysia, he added, was also promoting new products and technologies in
the information and communications technology (ICT) sector, especially
those using wireless and convergence technology, biotechnology industry
to capitalise on its status as one of 12 mega biodiversity centres in
the world, renewable energy, and aerospace.

Mustapa highlighted opportunities in service-based operations in
Malaysia to serve the regional market such as in areas of business and
professional services, integrated logistics, ICT services, education
and training, health services, and tourism services.

He also invited UK companies to set up regional entities such as
operational headquarters, international procurement centres, regional
distribution centres, regional offices and representative offices to
serve as affiliates and subsidiaries in the region.

To date, more than 2,600 regional establishments have set up operations in Malaysia, including 46 from the UK.

Mustapa also highlighted the strength of the Malaysia banking sect0r,
in particular its Islamic financial industry which is the fastest
growing segment in the banking industry with assets now accounting for
17.4 percent total banking assets in the country compared to just three
percent a decade ago.

According to him, it is timely to explore optimising the synergies
between London, an international financial centre, and Malaysia, an
international Islamic financial hub.