Continuous political stability and security have made Malaysia a country of choice for French investors and merchants, said Malaysian Ambassador in France Tan Sri Ismail Omar.
He said these factors had strengthened Malaysia’s economic relations with France and made them good trading partners.
France is the 14th largest foreign investor in Malaysia’s manufacturing industry with an investment of about USD1 billion (USD1 = RM3.29), he told Bernama here yesterday.
“The French investments are in major sectors like petroleum products, machinery and equipment, chemical products, aerospace and transport equipment while major investors are Lafarge, Eurocopter, Messier-Dowty Bugatty (MBD), Marigold, DCNS, Arkema, Cofely GDF Suez, Air Liquide and Saint-Gobain.
“France is Malaysia’s 16th largest trading partner with total trade of USD6.02 billion in 2012 and USD3.54 billion (up to August this year),” he added.
In tourism sector, he said Malaysia recorded a 6.4 per cent increase in French tourist arrivals last year to 136,137 from 127,980 in 2011.
He said direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Paris helped lured French tourists with Malaysia Airlines having seven flights weekly while Air France three times weekly.
Ismail said Malaysia was eying to boost French tourist arrivals next year in view of the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 where various events and campaigns had been lined up.
He said a number of French nationals had also made Malaysia their second home due to the country’s economic progress, peace and stability, culture, and the people’s friendly disposition.
In the education sector, he said, Malaysia began sponsoring students to pursue higher studies in France since 30 years ago.
Ismail said currently about 1,000 Malaysian students were studying in France but only 616 of them were registered with the embassy, 336 of them sponsored by the Public Service Department, 61 (Mara), 54 (Education Ministry) and 165 (Petronas, Telekom Malaysia and self-funded students).
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