BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has called on Malaysia and Brunei to take full advantage of existing bilateral and multilateral engagement initiatives to boost trade between the two economies.
Wan Azizah said Brunei was Malaysia’s seventh largest trading partner in the Asean region last year, with total trade between the two nations rising by 45.9 percent in the last three years.
She noted that total trade value reached US$981.2 million in 2018, from US$672.6 million in 2016.
“Bruneian businessmen are encouraged to strengthen their networking with Malaysian companies and to identify potential areas for collaboration.
“Potential products and services which could be further expanded upon include halal, furniture, medical, consumables, renewable energy, urban farming, oil and gas, franchising, early child education, healthcare, and medical tourism, as well as Information and Communications Technology,” she said.
Wan Azizah was speaking at a roundtable meeting with captains of industry in Brunei Darussalam, today. The meeting was part of her two-day working visit to the neighboring country, which began yesterday.
The Deputy Prime Minister also invited Bruneian companies to participate in this year’s upcoming trade events in Malaysia, such as the biennial Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima) in March, and the 16th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) in April.
She pointed out that Mihas, with more than 700 booths, is the world’s largest halal event; and which welcomed over 20,000 trade visitors from 70 countries and generated US$277 million in sales revenue in 2018.
“As Muslims account for around 40 percent of the Asean population, the business community in Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, southern Thailand, and the southern Philippines should take advantage of these opportunities to develop stronger halal supply chains and linkages in these markets,” she added.
On investment, Wan Azizah said Malaysia has been among the largest foreign investors in the oil-rich country, has invested nearly US$500 million in 2017.
She said Malaysian investments in the neighboring country are mainly in oil and gas; banking and financial; and construction and engineering services – whereas Bruneian investments in Malaysia have been in hospitality; manufacturing of chemicals and chemical products; and machinery and equipment.
Wan Azizah also encouraged Malaysian and Bruneian companies to seize opportunities arising from the growth of electronic commerce in the region.
Noting that Brunei is one of the top five markets for tourist arrivals to Malaysia, Wan Azizah said that Bruneians should take advantage of their visit to Malaysia, which has been a destination of choice for medical tourists.
Meanwhile, touching on the “new Malaysia”, Wan Azizah revealed that the Malaysian government is in the process of actively reviewing and evaluating the country’s economic policies.
The review includes formulating new policies for the development of the overall economy to spearhead national development post-2020.
“Regionally, our Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has called on Asean to boost intra-regional trade by up to 30 percent from the current 20 percent. This is to further provide more opportunities to small and medium-sized enterprises to capitalize in growing investments in the area,” she added.
The roundtable meeting was held to provide the Bruneian business community a better understanding of the current economic situation in Malaysia; and the opportunities in trade and investment that both nations could explore.
Wan Azizah called on Bruneian businessmen to expand collaboration with Malaysian companies and professional service providers, and undertake various projects together.
Present were Brunei’s Energy, Manpower, and Industry Minister Dato Seri Dr. Awang Mat Sunny Mohd Hussein; and Brunei’s Finance and Economy Deputy Minister Dr. Awang Abdul Manaf Metussin, among others.
Originally published on www.nst.com.my
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