By Geneia Verdejo
DAVAO City – The Malaysians were exploring talks with local business groups for investments and business partnerships in Mindanao.
This was learned after the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), the national trade promotion agency of Malaysia, revealed that it has successfully concluded an exploratory mission to Davao, Mindanao from November 7 to 9.
MATRADE Trade Commissioner based in Manila, Siti Azlina Mohd Ali Hanafiah said MATRADE has been actively pursuing opportunities in various industries in the Philippines, and is also seriously looking to enhance collaboration in the Halal sector particularly for Mindanao.
Philippines has always been an important trade and investment partner for Malaysia.
The trade mission was aimed at exploring potential business opportunities and identify market leads especially in trading of fast moving consumer goods and Halal, as well as information and communications technology and construction.
“Specifically for Mindanao, there is need to strengthen existing trade ties especially under the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia Philippines – East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA),” she added.
The Malaysian delegation in Davao was also joined by Mr. Ahmad Nasaruddin Mood Noor, MATRADE Deputy Director of ASEAN Desk in Kuala Lumpur.
“We are inviting Philippines business community to take part in MIHAS (Malaysia International Halal Showcase) – the largest halal exhibition in the region and leverage on their platform to learn the best halal practices, products and services offerings,” she said.
MIHAS 2019 will be held at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur next year, from April 3 – 6.
In 2017, the Philippines was Malaysia’s 5th largest trading partner within ASEAN.
Bilateral trade within both countries grew by 26.1% to US$5.94 billion. Both exports and imports have registered double digit growth rates, with exports increasing at 21.2% and imports at 36.1%, compared to 2016.
Major products exported from Malaysia to the Philippines were electrical and electronics (US$390.8 million / 19.4%), palm oil & palm based products (US$250.4 million / 12.4%), petroleum products (US$243.8 million / 12.1%), chemical and chemical products (US$218.7 million / 10.9%), and machinery, equipment & parts (US$144.6 million / 7.2%).
On the other hand, major products imported from the Philippines were electrical and electronics (US$727.2 million / 67.2%), machinery, equipment & parts (US$54.6 million / 5%), processed Food (US$42 million / 3.9%) rubber (US$41.9 million / 3.9%) and optical and scientific equipment (US$31.3 million / 2.9%) making the Philippines, Malaysia’s 18th largest import source.
On investment front, Malaysia remained among the major ASEAN investors in the Philippines after Singapore. Malaysia’s investment in 2017 was valued at US$9.4 million, while for the first half of 2018, the total investment from Malaysia were US$69.38 million mainly in infrastructure, manufacturing, ICT, call centers, palm oil and hospitality.
Among Malaysian brands with strong business and investment foothold include Shangri-La Hotel, Genting Group, Berjaya Group, PETRONAS, Maybank, Alloy MTD and Air Asia.