KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 ― Malaysia believes a free-trade agreement (FTA) with Bangladesh will add momentum to both countries’ current trade relations, says International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
He said the FTA would be mutually beneficial in terms of more access to each other’s markets for goods and services as well as investments, and removing barriers to doing business.
Speaking at the Bangladesh Trade and Investment Summit 2016 here today, Ahmad said in 2015, the two-way trade between both countries amounted to US$1.14 billion (US$1=RM4.44), an increase of 164 per cent from US$430.7 million recorded in 2005.
He said these numbers represented a strong indicator that the two countries’ bilateral relations were on the right track.
“However, a possible trade agreement could further facilitate the trade and investment flow between our two countries,” he said.
Ahmad also pointed out that the idea was first raised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina during her visit here on Dec 3, 2014.
In terms of investments, Ahmad said, the Malaysian government continued to encourage Bangladesh’s business community to invest in Malaysia, particularly in new growth areas in both the manufacturing and services sectors.
“Malaysia offers prime and strategic locations for Bangladeshi companies for their activities in this region.
“By locating in Malaysia, Bangladeshi investors can create a strong customer presence in the region and leverage on the country’s logistical advantages for regional establishments,” he said.
Ahmad said as at Dec 31, 2015, seven projects which involved Bangladesh, with an investment amounting to US$5.42 million, had been implemented, creating 506 jobs.
These projects were in the food manufacturing; machinery and equipment; textiles and textile products; and furniture and fixtures sectors, he added. ― Bernama