KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is calling on the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) to work more closely to further explore the full potential of the country and the wider region, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He reaffirmed that Malaysia remains resolute in commitment to ensure that the country continues to be a business-friendly nation with greater certainty, accountability, efficiency and transparency in its initiatives and policies.
“I wish to underscore that Malaysia is committed towards implementing all possible means for a rapid economic recovery, through carefully charted national plans and policies including Budget 2022, the 12th Malaysia Plan, National Investment Aspirations and MyDIGITAL.
“The government’s budget for this year, amounting to RM332.1 billion (US$75.4 billion), the largest in our history, aims to bolster an economic recovery following the pandemic, through three key pillars namely Strengthening Recovery, Building Resilience and Driving Reforms,” he said during the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) AGM Gala Dinner in collaboration with EUROCHAM Malaysia at the EQ Hotel yesterday.
His keynote address was read by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
Ismail Sabri noted that despite the effects of the pandemic, bilateral trade between Malaysia and the EU rebounded last year.
Malaysia’s total trade with the EU grew by 26 per cent to RM180.2 billion (US$43.5 billion) in 2021.
“Needless to say, the EU remains an important trading partner to Malaysia,” he stressed.
Touching on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, Ismail Sabri said Malaysia welcomes initiatives by the European Commission to engage the Indo-Pacific region in establishing a more inclusive, multi-pronged and robust partnership between the EU and the region, through the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
“The strategic framework will act as a catalyst to revive the economies in the region.
“Furthermore, this will strengthen the ASEAN market which lies at the crossroads of global economic interactions, while serving as a major gateway for businesses to enter the Indo-Pacific markets,” he said.
On the ASEAN-EU relations, he said as a strategic partner to ASEAN, Malaysia is optimistic that the EU will continue to assume a vital role in the region’s development including continuing to advocate for the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
“It is noteworthy that despite the adverse impacts of the pandemic, the EU continues to be one of ASEAN’s most important trade and investment partners. With a total trade of US$220.9 billion recorded in 2020, the EU was ASEAN’s third-largest trade partner,” he said.
The Prime Minister is confident that the close partnership between the Malaysian government and EU businesses will further aid the country towards a strong economic recovery.
“Please join hands with us in the journey to foster greater partnership between Malaysia and the EU,” he said.