KUALA LUMPUR (June 20): The US-China trade war has opened a unique opportunity for Southeast Asian countries and Malaysia stands ready to exploit the economic opportunities that may ensue, said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
He said international competition is always fluid; therefore, businesses will naturally look for alternative investment destinations to overcome the trade barriers imposed.
“We are ready to accept new investments that wish to take advantage of our modern infrastructure, connectivity to the region, political stability and pool of skilled and knowledge workers,” he said in his special address at the Asia Business Leadership Excellence and Lifetime Achievement Awards and gala dinner.
The event was held in conjunction with the Asia Economic And Entrepreneurship Summit themed “The Future Of Asia In A New Era Of Disruption And Trade Wars” held today.
Azmin noted that smaller economies would be expected to suffer the consequences when two of the world’s largest economies clash and engage in a relentless trade war.
The normal knee-jerk reaction, he said, would be to predict negative trade flows as well as adverse effects on economic growth, with financial markets usually reacting by reducing their exposure in the affected economies.
Azmin reiterated Malaysia’s commitment in continuing its business-friendly policies even as the government introduces policy changes to ensure greater transparency and accountability.
He said Malaysia is actively pursuing a regional and global policy of business and trade interconnectivity.
He noted that the trade balance in the sub-regional cooperation within ASEAN known as the East Asian Gowth Area (BIMP-EAGA) grew by 39.2 percent with a value of US$54.7 billion in the period of 2016–2017.
“Its export value grew to US$79 billion within the same period. We are confident this will further accelerate economic development for the region,” he said.
He added that the forthcoming ASEAN Summit will further cement regional cooperation to boost economic and business activities for member States.