Malaysia needs to regain interaction with US to boost trade and investments: PM Najib

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (left) meets with US President Donald Trump in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Sept 12, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) - Malaysia needs to regain its level of interaction with the United States to further boost trade and investments between both countries, Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Wednesday (Sept 13).

"Last year, trade between our countries amounted to nearly US$33 billion. While this is an improvement on recent years, it used to be considerably more in the past," he wrote on his blog,

Mr Najib said there were huge opportunities for the two countries to explore and pointed out the benefits that would come from closer trade and investment ties.

The prime minister is currently on a three-day working visit to the US where he held talks with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Mr Najib said last year alone, US companies brought in RM 5 billion (S$1.6 billion), or more than US$1 billion, of foreign direct investments (FDI) into Malaysia. The US, he noted, was the fifth largest foreign investor in the country with RM36 billion or US$8.5 billion worth of FDI stock.

"Malaysia is uniquely positioned as a gateway to the Asean market of 625 million people, and to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which when concluded will cover 50 per cent of the world s population and over 30 per cent of global gross domestic product," he said.

"Many in the international business community are already taking advantage of our strategic position, our young, motivated, English-speaking workforce, business-friendly policies, and these companies are voting with their feet," he said.

Mr Najib shared some examples, including that of Broadcom, one of the world's largest semiconductor companies with American roots and a market capitalisation of nearly half a trillion dollars, which is set to transfer its global distribution hub to Malaysia this year.

He said plenty more of other US-based firms are enhancing their presence in Malaysia, citing Coca-Cola, which had already invested RM1 billion since 2010, after announcing in March this year an additional RM500 million to expand the size and production capacity of its plant in the country.

"I was also pleased that, as announced earlier, Malaysia Airlines Bhd and Boeing Aircraft Corporation have signed a US$ 3.9 billion Memorandum of Understanding," he said.

"It will include Boeing setting up a new Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul(MRO) facility in Kuala Lumpur in co-operation with Malaysia Airlines to specialise in the Boeing 787, Boeing Max and Boeing NG aircraft," he added.

"As we celebrate 60 years of strong bilateral ties between Malaysia and the US this year, we look forward to the next 60 being marked by an even closer relationship in many areas particularly in trade and commerce," said Mr Najib. "This government stands ready to assist them in any way, and we hope to see them in Malaysia soon."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.