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Malaysia can deepen ties with Chinese communities: Malaysian PM

Source:   Time:

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia is ideally placed to be a conduit for deepening the relationships between the Chinese communities in Asia, given its history and strong ties in the region, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

Najib made the remarks in his keynote address delivered by Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed at the Malaysia International Chinese Business Forum here on Thursday.

Najib said the country's open trade policies, business-friendly environment, and solid collaboration with various governments enabled Malaysia to facilitate growth of the economic, business and governmental links among Asian countries.

"In the past decade, Malaysia has seen our trade relationships with other Asian countries grow substantially. In 2009, Malaysia's bilateral trade with countries like China and Singapore, as well as with regions like Hong Kong and Taiwan, reached a total of 92.6 billion U.S. dollars.

"This constituted 33 percent of Malaysia's global trade. For the first nine months of 2010, Malaysia's trade with these economies was up 36 percent compared with the same period in 2009, " said Najib.

Najib said that Malaysia was committed to fair and free trade, meaning that the relationships would not only grow over the coming years, but businesses with other key countries would be facilitated.

Malaysia already has bilateral trade agreements with several countries including Japan, Chile, Pakistan and New Zealand.

Malaysia was on track to implement an free trade agreement with India by July 2011, said Najib, adding that Malaysia was a strong proponent of free trade within ASEAN, through the ASEAN Free Trade Area, as well as regional trade agreements between ASEAN and other countries.

"We already anticipate greater opportunities for market access beyond ASEAN and Asia through free trade agreements with the European Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Trans- Pacific Partnership currently under negotiations.

"All these efforts by the Malaysian government translate directly into strategic market opportunities for the private sector," said Najib.

The forum, jointly organized by Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM), Malaysian International Trade and Industry Ministry and the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority, saw the participation of over 700 people from local and abroad.

William Cheng, ACCCIM president, said that the forum was aimed at promoting Malaysia as the preferred investment destination by foreign investors, as well as expanding the network of Malaysian entrepreneurs.

While encouraging investment collaboration in various projects, Cheng also hoped that the forum would serve as a platform for the participants to share their market information.

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