“I think Malaysians have certain inherent advantages that we should make full use of,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the “2010 FOCAFTA” seminar here on Thursday.
Mukhriz said there was massive construction going on in many parts of China where Malaysian companies could provide architecture or design services to China.
“China can look up to our capablities in this aspect. This is one area we can pursue further,” he said, adding that China was a huge market which also offered business opportunities in several other sectors for Malaysians.
Mukhriz said if Malaysian businesses fully understood the advantages of CAFTA they can make full use of it to their advantage.
He was commenting on reports that the Malaysian business community and their Asean counterparts were concerned that their products would not be able to compete with Chinese products, which will enjoy zero preferential treatment under CAFTA, which came into force on Jan 1.
Mukhriz suggested that ASEAN and China work together to address these concerns to ensure long term stability of trade investment relations between Asean and China.
He said, ASEAN also requested China to facilitate imports into the country by addressing the non-tariff barriers.
This could be in the form of standards, technical regulations or onerous administrative measures that translate into additional costs and unnecessary delays.
However, Mukhriz said the focus should be in translating the agreement into something that would benefit Asean rather than worry over stiffer competition.
Under the CAFTA agreement, Asean and China will liberalise the architecture, engineering, telecommunications, financial services, education, health and tourism, computer and related services, management consulting services, construction, environmental services, recreational service and transport services.
On China-ASEAN investment funds, Mukhriz said there was a need to create awareness among small-and-medium (SME) entreprenuers and industries and the government can assume a role in terms of facilitating the use of funds made available by China.
The Chinese government has allocated US$10 billion under the China-ASEAN Investment Cooperaton Fund and US$15 billion in loan facilities to finance mega investment projects within the region.
“The fund is quite large and opportunities are ample. If other smaller Asean economies can make full use of this, I don’t see why Malaysian SMEs cannot do the same,” added Mukhriz.
On Chinese investments in Malaysia, he said it was important to let Chinese investors know more about Malaysia.
“I think, they want to know more before coming to invest, therefore we want their leaders,not only from politics,but business leaders to come to Malaysia and obtain first hand information on what we can offer,” he said.