MEDEF International, the Embassy of Malaysia in Paris in collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) organised a webinar to update the French business stakeholders with Malaysia’s progress in mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 to Malaysian industries. The webinar was held at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Tower, Kuala Lumpur on 4 September 2020.
YB Datuk Lim Ban Hong, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in his welcoming remarks highlighted “As a trading nation, Malaysia sees great value in engaging with our trading partners through bilateral and regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Malaysia currently has signed 14 FTAs and this places Malaysia as an attractive hub for your ASEAN operations. Last year, France was Malaysia’s 18th largest global trading partner and 3rd largest trading partner among the European Union member states (including the United Kingdom). Seeing the enthusiastic turn out of this webinar, I am glad that French companies continue to have confidence in Malaysia as their preferred investment destination in this region”.
The economic ties between the two countries have flourished over the years due to solid diplomatic foundations laid by respective leaders of each country. This is evident through the increasing number of French companies investing in Malaysia. As of December 2019, a total of 126 manufacturing projects with French participation have been implemented with total investments of RM4.36 billion (USD1.31 billion), creating a total of 10,913 potential employment.
Mr. Arham Abdul Rahman, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MIDA added that “France is one of the important trading partners and source of investments for Malaysia. It has had a long presence in the country’s manufacturing and services sectors. Recognising the French innovative capabilities, we welcome more investments in areas of transport equipment (aerospace), ICT, pharmaceutical, scientific and measuring equipment, electrical and electronics, food, chemical and chemical products as well as machinery and equipment”.
Malaysian Ambassador to France, H.E. Dato’ Dr. Azfar Mohamad Mustafar also joined the live webinar session and delivered his remarks. The session was moderated by Mr. Philippe Gautier, CEO from MEDEF International. In addition, more than 30 participants, of whom, were mostly representatives from French companies operating in France and Southeast Asia region participated actively in the webinar.
H.E Frédéric Laplanche, French Ambassador to Malaysia added in his remarks, “It is a difficult time, globally; however Malaysia has been among the exemplary nation that has managed the pandemic well. With the travel and movement restrictions in place, the French business community is urged to remain hopeful and continue exploring new opportunities in Malaysia. Over the past few years, we have seen an increase of new French investments and expansions in the country, a spectacular trend that continues to date. Through this webinar session, it is encouraging to see Malaysia and France showcasing the same ambitions and fervor to elevate the relation of both nations further. Given Malaysia’s open trade and business-friendly policies, there are potential opportunities for business communities to tap on in this new norm.”
Moving forward, YB Datuk Lim Ban Hong welcomes the proposal by MEDEF International to ink a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MIDA for future collaboration in strengthening the economic relations between France and Malaysia, and in making MIDA the single point of contact for its members to gather information pertaining to Malaysia’s economic development. As the principal investment promotion agency of the country under MITI, MIDA will continue to facilitate local and global businesses and promote Malaysia as the preferred investment destination in the region.