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What new initiatives is the Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI) focusing on right now?
MUSTAPA: Under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), we have twelve National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) and MITI is responsible for one of them, the Electrical and Electronics sector. The E&E, as we call it, is a very critical component of the Malaysian manufacturing sector.
It’s the biggest component; biggest in terms of contribution to manufacturing, and biggest in terms of contribution to exports. Exports, for example, about a third of our exports come from this sector.
So I’m responsible for this big slice of the Malaysian manufacturing sector. Besides that, I have a small chunk of business services under me, for example MRO under the Aerospace sector but that is secondary. The main component that I am responsible for is the Electrical and Electronic sector.
What are your international trade and FDI goals?
MUSTAPA: Firstly, we want to raise Malaysia’s profile in the world. We’ve done that through various efforts undertaken by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and myself as Minister responsible for Trade and Investments. We have gone throughout the world; this year, Asia and Europe, and this is very important. So that’s in terms of promotion, raising Malaysia’s profile. In many parts of the world, Malaysia is known, but of course, we need to further enhance that visibility. Visibility is important. Secondly, we want to highlight the business-friendly environment we have in Malaysia. We have a government which is very facilitative of business, very pro-business.
We work closely with the private sector, both local and foreign investors. Beyond that of course, numbers are important. Last year for example, we achieved the highest ever FDI for Malaysia, more than $12bn.
In the first half of this year, we have done about 45% of that and we believe with all the promotion efforts we have undertaken, we will be able to achieve the same level of FDI as last year, despite the very challenging international economic environment. So, raising Malaysia’s profile, we’ve got to work hard, we’ve got to be more creative in terms of promotion, and we’ve got to cover as much ground as possible, not only in the traditional markets but also in some parts of the world which are quite new to us.
Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade & Industry (MITI) on raising Malaysia’s profile in the world is originally published by and copyright of The Prospect Group.