KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 19): Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is hopeful that the United States (US) businesses would take advantage of the vast investment opportunities presented by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
In a meeting with the US-Asean Business Council (US-ABC) today, he said the RCEP is one of the enablers to help Malaysia revitalise domestic and international business activity.
“The pandemic has made clear the importance of international trade and cooperation as well as the inter-linkages of regional supply chains.
“I would like to reaffirm that Malaysia continues to be an open economy, with pro-business and pragmatic policies that support the investment climate in the country,” said the Prime Minister in his opening remarks which was read by Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Ismail Sabri also said that Malaysia has completed its ratification process on the mega trade agreement and has transmitted the country’s Instrument of Ratification to the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta.
The agreement will enter into force in Malaysia on March 18, 2022, he said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister elaborated that the US-ABC has a key consultative role, where over the years, US-ABC has helped advance the agenda of regional integration while elevating the relations between the US and Asean member states, including Malaysia.
“Looking ahead, by capitalising on the synergy between the government and the private sector, I am optimistic that we will be able to pave the path for a resilient and sustainable growth,” said Ismail Sabri.
Besides, he said, there is still plenty of upside for the foreseeable future, particularly if both parties factor in the economies of scale that could be derived with extension to the Asean region.
Ismail Sabri also said he was heartened by the continued interest and participation of the US-ABC in supporting Asean and Malaysia to foster the digital transformation agenda.
He hoped that this could lead to a greater collaboration in the digital space, with the US businesses driving the creation of agile and competent digital talents in the country.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said that with regular engagements between the government, the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), and the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, this could contribute towards positioning Malaysia as an attractive investment destination of choice and a supply chain hub in Asean.
The US has been Malaysia’s third largest trading partner since 2015.
Despite global trade registering a deficit in 2020, he said Malaysia recorded a promising growth of 8.2 per cent in total trade with the US, reaching US$42.6 billion (RM178 billion).
For the period of January-November 2021, Malaysia’s total trade with the US grew by 20.7 per cent to reach US$47.35 billion, compared with the corresponding period in 2020.
Furthermore, the US is Malaysia’s second largest foreign investor in terms of implemented manufacturing projects.