PHNOM PENH: The China-Malaysia bilateral trade is set to expand further, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the use of local currencies for trade between both countries would also help lead to this expansion.
China expressed such optimism when Najib held a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, here, last night, at the invitation of the latter on the sidelines of the 21st Asean Summit.
Due to Najib’s tight schedule at the Asean Summit and bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event Sunday, as well as related summits Monday, he only managed to hold a 10-minute press conference before rushing off to another back-to-back engagement.
Total trade between China and Malaysia amounted to US$54.5 billion in 2011 and rose by 10.5 per cent to US$38.1 billion between January and August this year compared to the corresponding period in 2011.
Najib said China had been Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009.
“China is now Malaysia’s largest export market (US$29.8 billion) and source of imports (US$24.7 billion),” he added.
Malaysia’s major exports are electrical and electronics products, palm oil, and chemicals, while major imports are electrical and electronics products, machinery, chemicals, appliances and parts.
In steering economic ties between China and Malaysia to greater heights over the next five years, Najib said both countries were finalising a Five-Year Economic Cooperation Plan covering the period 2013 and 2017.
“China is expected to submit the consolidated draft plan within the next few weeks for Malaysia’s consideration,” he said.
He said the areas of cooperation cover agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, industry, investment, services, wholesale, retail, mineral resources, industrial park and export processing zone, logistics and sanitary.
He said Wen was confident that the new Chinese leadership, expected to take over in March next year, would continue to pay special attention to strengthening economic cooperation with Malaysia.
Najib said both countries were actively working towards the full implementation of the two iconic industrial parks – the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park (QIP) in China and the Kuantan Industrial Park (KIP) in Malaysia.
A Malaysia-China joint venture (JV) company has been established with an initial paid up capital of US$300 million in developing the QIP which was officiated by both Wen and Najib in China last April.
The Malaysian government, Najib said, would continue to encourage Malaysian companies led by Rimbunan Hijau and SP Setia to actively participate in this project.
He said the KIP would be officially launched in the first quarter of next year.
The KIP is a JV between Malaysia and China with an equity structure of 51 per cent for the Malaysian consortium and 49 per cent allocated for the PRC JV Consortium.
He said both leaders were also pleased with the state of bilateral relations which transcends official cooperation.
“Premier Wen stated that China-Malaysia relations is at the forefront of China-Asean relations,” he added.
Asked about the South China Sea issue, Najib reaffirmed Malaysia’s commitment to peaceful solution, and reiterated that it should not be an obstacle for cooperation in other fields.
China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia are involved in the territorial claim on parts of the sea.
Najib also met Oknha Othsman, a Cambodian Muslim leader who is an advisor to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Muslim affairs, here Sunday night.
Oknha expressed appreciation over Malaysia’s assistance on religious matters and hoped it could be extended to education as well, in helping the Malay Champa community, who speak Bahasa Melayu.
Najib said the Malaysian government would consider the request for assistance in developing the country’s Islamic Centre, here.
Touching on the Asean Plus Three Commemorative Summit today, Najib proposed that the Asean Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve, include other food, apart from rice.
“We hope the food production could be further increased through the use of innovation technique and technology,” he said.
Asean Plus Three is a cooperation agreement between Asean’s 10-member countries and the three dialogue partners, namely China, Japan and South Korea.
Apart from the Asean Plus Three Summit, Najib today attended 15th Asean-Japan Summit, 15th Asean-Republic of Korea Summit, 10th Asean-India Summit, 15th Asean-China Summit and later the 4th Asean-US Leaders’ Meeting, at the Peace Palace, here.
United States President Barack Obama will be attending the 4th Asean-US Leaders’ Meeting.
Najib and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, also paid tribute to the late Cambodian King-Father Norodom Sihanouk at the Royal Palace.
Najib and Rosmah are scheduled to attend the Gala Dinner to be hosted by Hun Sen and his wife Monday. –Bernama