DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 Feb) – Trade between the Philippines and Malaysia last year reached $5B in 2015, records of the the Malaysian Trade (MATRADE) in Manila showed.
Speaking in Wednesday’s Habi at Kape at the Abreeza Mall, Nyaee Ayup, MATRADE-Manila commissioner said exports from Malaysia to the Philippines remained higher at $3.4 billion, or 68 percent, while the imports were valued at $1.6 billion.
This was slightly lower compared to 2014’s 5.3 billion worth of traded goods, of which $3.7 billion were exports and $1.6 billion were imports.
She added that most of the traded goods are electronic products, construction and building materials, palm oil, mechanical equipment, appliance, metal, processed food and chemical products.
Ayup said that she wanted to strengthen the trade relationship to benefit the business players of both countries, as she emphasized the need to strengthen the bilateral trade by realizing the strengths of their counterparts.
“We want a two-way trade. For instance, we buy cacao from the Philippines and then we manufacture final products. Some of your industries are also into manufacturing,” she said.
She explained that Malaysia is mostly a manufacturing-driven economy but they need to import raw materials from neighboring countries such as Philippines to manufacture products.
“For example, Mindanao has agricultural produce. Malaysia also has agricultural produce but we need agricultural products from other countries,” she said.
Ayup highlighted their Halal industry, this being their strength in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) that opens the playing field for all exporters among the 10-Asean member countries by bringing down to zero the tariff rates.
She encouraged Mindanawon investors to do business in Malaysia as she pointed out that Malaysia is “an investor-friendly” country.
But she also acknowledged that the problem of connectivity needs to be addressed as there is no direct air or shipping route between Malaysia and Mindanao at present.
Ayup named oil giant Petron Corp. and Universal Robina Corporation (URC) as two Filipino companies already operating in Malaysia.
The MATRADE official said that they are encouraging investors from their country to invest in Mindanao, particularly on agriculture, information and communication technology (ICT), and manufacturing.
What Malaysian investors look for in an investment destination are good government policies, right partners, facilities, cost of production, and the ease of securing licenses, she said.
Ayup was in Davao City for the Brunei, Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Strategic Planning Meeting from Tuesday to Friday.
The four-day meeting was attended by more than 200 technical officials and private sector representatives from BIMP-EAGA member countries to determine and facilitate programs, projects, and partnerships that will further the growth within the sub-region. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)