KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 31 ― Malaysia needs to push for progress in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), particularly investors from the European Union (EU), the Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean-BAC) Malaysia said.
The council said a consultation meeting with members of its joint business councils and foreign business councils yesterday concluded that the time now is suitable to restart talks for an EU-Malaysia free trade agreement (FTA).
It said the EU has completed bilateral trade agreements with Singapore and Vietnam and is currently in talks for similar free trade agreements (FTA) with other Asean countries such as Indonesia.
“As such, the panellists agreed that Malaysia needs to push for progress in this area,” it said in a statement today.
Chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid said Malaysia remained an attractive destination for foreign direct investment despite the many challenges that the country currently faces.
Council member Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon said the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could enable Malaysia to reach an agreement with the EU sooner since certain provisions laid out in the CPTPP, such as those involving labour, would be similar to those required in an FTA with the EU.
Meanwhile, the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Eurocham Malaysia) said it firmly believed that there is a need for a formal framework to elevate trade between the EU and Malaysia to the next level.
“Since several Asean countries have already signed or are in advanced stages of FTA negotiations with the EU, we strongly recommend that the Malaysian government restarts the currently-stalled FTA dialogue,” chief executive officer Sven Schneider said.
Ambassador of the European Union to Malaysia Michalis Rokas said he believed that Malaysia should continue to be an attractive investment destination as long as it provided transparency and predictability.
“Malaysia should attract foreign investments and investors by streamlining and simplifying market access requirements for foreign companies, in a systemic and non-discriminatory way,” he said.
He added that although the trade and investment relationship between Malaysia and EU is on the whole satisfactory, there remained untapped potential for both sides to work together to “build back better” especially in the post-pandemic recovery period. ― Bernama