Malaysia strengthens trade partnership with the US

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE recently proposed additional investments in the US by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak has boosted Malaysia’s reputation as an important trade partner to the US, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Mustapa said the country will further engage with the US to leverage on the market giant’s future infrastructure development.

“The US is currently undergoing a vast redevelopment of infrastructures programme worth US$1 trillion (RM4.2 trillion).

“From what we hear, there are some renovations for structures such as bridges and airports and that is the key area that President Donald Trump is looking at right now,” he told reporters after officiating Malaysian Investment Development Authority Open Day in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Mustapa added that there is a need to build some new infrastructure under the US’ new presidency in the next few years, with mass investments that Malaysia can be involved in.

He said that a study done by US Asean Business Council also reveals that 63% of US companies believe they would gain profit from investing in Malaysia this year.

“We believe there is more possibility for the country and Malaysia to have a mutually benefitted relation.

“American companies still recognised Malaysia as an attractive investment destination and it reflects availability of investments in the country,” Mustapa said.

Along with the future investments in the US, will be bonds to be issued that are expected to attract some companies.

“The market will determine the direction of our investment. The US offers opportunities in big markets including finance, manufacturing and electrical.

“We can see American companies in every sector in Malaysia that provide more than 200,000 jobs to Malaysians,” he said.

Mustapa said investments by the US in the Malaysian manufacturing sector alone have amounted to RM70 billion. On the other hand, Malaysia’s investments in the US are registered at US$8 billion.

He added that the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) further investment in the US would provide better returns for the country.

“EPF’s investment in the world’s biggest market is not new. It has been investing in the US since 2008.

“The prime minister has spoken with EPF prior to the trip, on the possibility of further investment and the management has shown interest in the opportunity in the US,” he said.

Mustapa said Malaysia should continue to invest overseas, in the footsteps of leading companies that have branched out, including Sime Darby Bhd, Petroliam Nasional Bhd and YTL Corp Bhd.