PHNOM PENH: While other economies are bracing for a gloomy year, Asean is set to record impessive growth of between 5.6% and 6.3%.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that this was a credible growth given the current global economic uncertainties.
He said growth in the region would be domestic-driven, with some countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and the Philippines forecast to grow more than 6%.
“International firms are courting us to do business with them. Asean is certainly growing to be an economic force to be reckoned with,” he told the Malaysian media yesterday.
Mustapa said Asean’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with six other nations – China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand – were also a plus-point in luring businesses to the region.
“It is not difficult to see why Asean is so attractive. Not only has the environment to do business improved, it is a region with a 600 million population with a growing middle-class and young people,” he said.
On trade relations with Cambodia, Mustapa said Malaysia was the fourth largest trading partner here with 1,600 registered Malaysian businesses valued at US$2.6bil (RM7.9bil).
Cambodia’s economy is considered among the most liberal in Asean, mainly due to the commitments made by the country to liberalise during its accession to become a World Trade Organisation member.
Mustapa said Malaysia’s private sector was actively engaged in discussions on reverse investments to produce food items such as corn, soya, rice and livestock, and plantation crops like rubber in Cambodia to be re-exported back home.
Malaysian investments were diversified and covered a wide range of sectors such as manufacturing, banking, oil and gas, properties, power and energy, hotels and telecommunications, he added.Link : http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2012/4/4/business/11044485&sec=business