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[ 11-03-2014 ]
DPM: Boost trade with Cambodia

BILATERAL TIES: Muhyiddin urges Malaysian, Cambodian SMEs to work towards increasing exports

PHNOM PENH: BILATERAL trade between Malaysia and Cambodia is set to flourish despite challenges posed by the unconditional global economic landscape, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.

The deputy prime minister said Malaysia's bilateral trade with Cambodia had increased by 13.8 per cent to reach US$429.54 million (RM1.4 billion) last year compared with the previous year. However, he said, the value and rate of trade between both countries were still small and narrow.

"Cambodia accounts for less than one per cent of Malaysia's total trade in 2013. And Malaysia's exports (to Cambodia) are limited to textile, manufactured metal, processed food and chemicals while our imports are limited to rubber and rice."

Muhyiddin was speaking at a roundtable meeting with Malaysian and Cambodian captains of industry here yesterday.

The meeting, which was attended by representatives of 35 Malaysian companies, was jointly chaired by him and one of the five Cambodian deputy prime ministers, Keat Chhon. Present were Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron and Malaysian ambassador to Cambodia Raszlan Abdul Rashid.

Muhyiddin also called on small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) from both countries to forge closer cooperation to expand trade value and volume.

"We should explore how SMEs can increase their exports and participation in the supply of services. The services sector in Asean is being liberalised and there are opportunities that can be tapped."

Malaysian companies, said Muhyiddin, mostly in the finance and services sectors, were the leading foreign investors in Cambodia.

"There are 1,693 Malaysian businesses registered in Cambodia with investments amounting to US$2.62 billion over a period of 19 years from 1994 until 2013."

He proposed entrepreneurs in both countries fully engage the Malaysia-Cambodia Business Council (MCBC) and the Malaysian Business Council of Cambodia to enhance industrial collaborations and tap into opportunities in the liberalised Asean services sector.

"I am convinced that both countries can create a strong SME business class that is able to penetrate the international market by developing a strategic link into the global value chain.

"I hope the programmes and blueprint set by the councils will continue to boost trade cooperation between Malaysia and Cambodia."

The roundtable meeting was Muhyiddin's last agenda in his three-day official visit to Cambodia which began on Wednesday.

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