KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's bilateral trade with Chinahas increased three-folds to US$11.5 billion in 2002 from US$3.7 billion(US$1 = RM3.80) in 1995, Deputy Minister of International Trade andIndustry Datuk Seri Kerk Choo Ting said here Thursday.
He said that in 2002, China was Malaysia's fourth largest trading partner,the fifth largest export market and the fourth largest source of imports.
"Malaysia's exports to China increased more than two-folds from US$2.0billion to US$5.3 billion, while imports more than three-folds from US$1.7billion to US$6.2 billion," he said in his welcoming address at theMalaysia-China Partnership Summit 2003 here Thursday.
He said that from January to June this year, Malaysia's trade with Chinacontinued to grow with total trade amounting to US$5.8 billion.
Malaysia's major exports to China include electrical and electronic (E&E)products (43.2 percent), palm oil (14.6 percent), chemical and chemicalproducts (11.5 percent) while major imports include electrical andelectronics products (55.5 percent), machinery appliances and parts (7.8percent) and textiles and clothing (4.1 percent).
Kerk said that Chinese investments also contributed to the development ofthe manufacturing sector in Malaysia with cumulative approved investmentsvalued at US$890.5 million from 1998 to 2002.
The investments were mainly in paper, printing and publishing, basic metalproducts, E&E products, as well as wood & wood products.
He said that China was the seventh largest investor in the Malaysianmanufacturing sector and for the period January to July this year, fiveprojects valued at US$14.6 million from China were approved.
Kerk also said that next year, 2004 will be declared as the Malaysia ChinaFriendship year to commemorate the 600th anniversary of Admiral Zheng He'svisit to Melaka and also the 30th anniversary of the re-establishment ofdiplomatic ties between the two countries.
He also assured Chinese investors that their projects could be implementedexpeditiously in Malaysia as the Malaysian government has fullyliberalised equity holdings in all manufacturing projects.
"Under this revised policy, 100 percent foreign equity is allowed for allnew investments, as well as investment for expansion/diversificationprojects by existing companies, irrespective of the level of exports.
"The delivery system of the public sector has been further enhancedthrough the appointment of special projects officers to assist investorsin obtaining all necessary approvals until they are operational," Kerksaid.
Kerk said that there were vast opportunities in the Malaysianmanufacturing sector particularly in Information and CommunicationsTechnology (ICT), biotechnology, E&E, chemicals, machinery and engineeringsupporting industries.
"With China's accession into the World Trade Organisation and theimpending Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), I am sure our trade andeconomic links will be enhanced to higher level," he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia-China Business Council co-chairman Tan Sri Lee KimYew, said that the summit focused on enhancing business and economiccooperation between China and Malaysia specifically, and Asean in general.
He said it was also to discuss and explore the opportunities arising fromrecent development in China.
The two-day summit themed "Broadening the Grounds for Partnership,Realising the Promise of China's Progress," is organised by Asian StrategyLeadership Institute.