Local firms invest RM550b abroad in 1Q17
RCEP

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic by ISMAIL CHE RUS

Malaysian companies have invested RM550 billion in foreign countries in the first-quarter of the year (1Q17).

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysian companies are emerging as favourites among foreign countries, for quality investment providing good returns.

He said the investment figure will continue to increase once the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is realised.

“RCEP will boost the investment of Malaysian companies overseas, especially in RCEP member countries namely China, India, Australia, Japan and South Korea,” Mustapa told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli, who asked the government to reveal the latest development in RCEP negotiations which began in 2013, and Malaysia’s commitment to remain in RCEP.

Mustapa said Malaysia is committed to help finalise the RCEP by year-end, together with 15 other nations, with the aim of increasing economic trade in Asia.

He said efforts towards this are being actively carried out, including the meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, which took place from May 21 to May 22 this year.

The meeting was attended by ministers and deputy ministers from Asean, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and India.

“The negotiations began in 2013, and the delay in finalising the agreement is because it involves 16 countries, but all are committed to conclude the discussion,” he said.

“All 16 nations are in the process of working out the details with regard to the terms and conditions as discussed during the latest ministerial level meeting which prioritised implementation by 2017,” he added.

Mustapa said the negotiations are aimed at ensuring uniformity in the regulations among the 16 nations to ease investments and trade in the region.

He said the RCEP has the potential to shape the international trade agenda through liberalisation of trade from the product, services and investments aspects on a deeper and larger scale, which roughly encompasses more than half of the world’s population.

“As a major Asean economy, Malaysia will be able to benefit from the efforts to strengthen trade between RCEP partners, while local companies can explore opportunities to expand in the region,” he added.

It is touted as the world’s largest free trade deal as it will cover half of the world’s population and, with a combined output that stood at US$22.7 trillion (RM97.43 trillion) in 2014, almost 30% of the global economy.

In 2015, the total trade of RCEP economies reached US$10.8 trillion while total foreign investment inflow hit US$366.3 billion.