KUALA LUMPUR: The combined efforts of Malaysia and China and those of Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) will ensure that the citizens of both countries reap the benefits of this growing prosperity.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said with China being Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009 and one of the top 10 foreign investors in Malaysia, the prospects appeared excellent for even larger growth in the economic ties in the future.
“Malaysia’s total trade with China in 2014 amounted to US$63.50bil (RM238.3bil). This accounted for 14.3% of Malaysia’s total trade in 2014, and an increase of 2.2% from 2013 (in ringgit terms).
“For the period January-April 2015, Malaysia’s total trade with China increased by 1.2% to US$18.48bil (RM69.4bil) compared with the corresponding period in 2014,” he said in his speech at the MCCC 25th anniversary dinner here on Thursday.
Mustapa said as of Dec 31, 2014, a total of 182 industrial projects with participation from China were implemented with investments amounting to US$2.83bil (RM10.62bil).
He said Chinese President Xi Jinping mooted the idea of jointly building the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ during his visit to Kazakhstan on Sept 7, 2013 and the ‘21st Maritime Silk Road’ during his visit to Indonesia in October 2013.
“Together, these two initiatives are now combined under the ‘One Belt One Road’ rubric and grand vision of re-creating the famed Silk Road of centuries past seeks to seamlessly connect the three continents of Asia, Africa and Europe,” he said.
“The economic potentials of this maritime and terrestrial initiative are immense and Malaysia is fully cognisant of the immense economic potential of the project,” he said.
Mustapa said Malaysia’s strategic geographical location at the centre of South-East Asia and the cultural, linguistic and even culinary links that were with China gave the country an incomparable advantage in this regard.
“For instance, Kuantan Port is undergoing construction for further expansion and development to help spur the development of the east coast region.
“The Malaysian Government is committed to ensuring the success of the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), located near the port and this is evidenced by the funding of an approximately RM700mil in incentives and infrastructure support for MCKIP,” he said.
Mustapa said the link road from Kuantan Port to MCKIP was estimated to be completed by 2016.
He said come Dec 31, Malaysia and Asean members would formally establish the Asean Economic Community (AEC) home to a consumer market of more than 600 million people with a combined gross domestic product estimated at US$2.5 trillion (RM9.4 trillion).
By 2020, Asean aimed to become the fifth largest economy in the world, he said.
“The AEC will clearly provide a major boost to China-Asean bilateral trade, which has already increased five-fold from US$78bil (RM292.7bil) in 2003 to US$443.61bil (RM1.66 trillion) in 2013.
“In fact, total trade between China and Asean for 2014 touched US$480.13bil (RM1.8 trillion), an increase of 8.23% from 2013. China is now Asean’s largest trading partner and Asean is China's third-largest trading partner,” he said. - Bernama