Malaysia notes trade imbalance with PH

Manila News Bureau Chief

MANILA – For every $1 Filipino investment in Malaysia, the Malaysian investor bring $3 to the Philippines.

Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’Sri Mustapa Mohamed pointed out this imbalance during the Trade and Investment Mission he recently led here.

Malaysia’s Department of Statistics showed Philippines to be the 18th largest trading partner of Malaysia in 2013, with $4.47 billion worth of trade.

On the other hand, based on the National Statistics Office, Malaysia is the Philippines’ 10th trading partner with $3.58 billion.

“Given the size of the Philippines, the size of Malaysia and given the income level of Philippines and Malaysia, the $4.47 billion for the trade is very much below potential,” Malaysian Trade Minister Mohamed said.

Mohamed added that Malaysian investors are represented in a number of sectors in the Philippines such as airlines, banking and finance, and hospitality. Companies include Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Maybank and Berjaya.

So far, the biggest Philippine investment in Malaysia comes from San Miguel Corp. ($1.2 billion). Other Philippine companies are Pancake House, URC Snack Foods and Century Packaging.

The Philippine Malaysian Business Council in Malaysia was reactivated and is now headed by SMC president Ramon Ang to increase business activity in both countries.

Its counterpart in the Philippines called Malaysian Philippine Business Council is led by Malaysian businessman Dato’Azmil Khalid (president and chief executive officer) of Alloy MTD Group.

Together with the two councils, Mohamed said, they will reduce the trade gap by increasing trade and investments thus, improving the trade partner ranking for both countries.

“I’ve been urging the two business councils to work even better. The government of the Philippines and the government of Malaysia have been promoting closer ties but in my view, the business council of the two countries can play an even bigger role,” Mohamed added./PN