No trade embargo on North Korea, says Malaysia's Trade Minister

Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said that there is no trade embargo imposed on Malaysian companies keen on doing business with North Korea.
Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said that there is no trade embargo imposed on Malaysian companies keen on doing business with North Korea. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) - No trade embargo has been imposed on Malaysian companies keen on doing business with North Korean companies or in the country despite the recent murder of Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said the government had no right to make any decision as it was entirely up to the private companies.

"Malaysia is not a state economy and (the trade with North Korea) is driven by the private sector," he told a press conference after announcing Malaysia's Investment Performance in 2016 in Kuala Lumpur.

He said there were not many Malaysian private sector companies operating in North Korea. "So, we leave it to them (Malaysian companies) to make their own assessment of risks and opportunities," he added.

Bilateral trade in 2016 between Malaysia and North Korea declined to RM18 million (S$5.7 million) from RM22 million in 2015. Trade was mainly for commodities goods.

Asked whether the recent Kim Jong Nam case would have any impact on Malaysia-North Korea bilateral trade, going forward, Mustapa said the impact would not be significant.

"Trade between Malaysia and North Korea is small unlike with South Korea which is big. There is hardly any investment from North Korea, so our economic ties with North Korea is very insignificant," he said.

"From that point of view, it should not have any impact overall to Malaysia-North Korea economic relations," he said.

Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was killed by two women who attacked him with a chemical at the KLIA 2 departure hall on Feb 13.