M’sia to enhance bilateral cooperation with Saudi, UAE

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA will further enhance its bilateral cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a more comprehensive and strategic direction, and rebuild the confidence among the business community.

Considering the importance of bilateral trade between both countries, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) has arranged a series of business meetings with prominent Saudi and UAE companies during a recent trade mission led by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Among the focus sectors were healthcare services, facility management, medical devices, furniture, palm oil, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and lifestyle products.

Matrade said one of the major importers of Malaysia’s palm oil in Saudi Arabia, Savola Group, is committed to increasing their sourcing of palm oil from Malaysia.

“The group wants to make Saudi Arabia as their distribution hub for other parts of Gulf Cooperation Council, and Middle East and North Africa markets,” Matrade said.

The intention is in line with the discussion during Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s visit to the country in March, which is to expand markets for Malaysia’s palm oil exports into the region.

Savola is also one of the largest operators of grocery store chains in Saudi Arabia and had just launched an e-commerce marketplace called Pandaclick last year, which contributed to the booming e-commerce sector in Saudi Arabia.

To further facilitate the strong interest shown by Savola Group, Matrade invited them to Malaysia, particularly during the Malaysia International Halal Showcase, which is to be held from Sept 9 to 12.

Matrade is also committed to organising a special sourcing programme for Savola.

Meanwhile, Matrade said Makkah Healthcare Cluster, an administrator of a medical city, nine public hospitals and 82 public health centres in Makkah, is willing to work closely with Malaysia’s healthcare providers or hospital operators to jointly develop the Makkah Healthcare Cardiac Institute, Makkah Healthcare Oncology Institute and a nursing school in Makkah.

“They also plan to work with Malaysian suppliers of medical products and services for their facilities,” it said.

Additionally, a memorandum of business exploration (MoBE) was signed between UEM Edgenta Bhd, a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, and ASMA Advanced Solutions LLC, a Saudi company specialising in water systems management.

Matrade stated that the MoBE indicates the intention of UEM Edgenta to seriously position itself to capture healthcare support services and integrated facility management markets in Saudi.

“In the UAE, meetings with retail conglomerates Landmark Group and Lulu Group resulted in a commitment from both companies to increase their sourcing and broadening the range of products from Malaysia.

“Both companies are also planning to use Malaysia as their sourcing and distribution hub in Asean,” it said.

Moving forward, Matrade will organise specialised sourcing programmes for the companies targeting dedicated sectors including lifestyle, premium quality furniture and high-tech household products and appliances, and FMCG.

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