KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 (Bernama) — Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Malaysia from its ASEAN peers is expected to gain momentum with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) becoming a reality from Dec 31 this year.
Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the sustained removal of barriers among the 10-member grouping, had led to an expansion in intra-ASEAN trade and investments, from US$1.22 billion in 2000 to US$24.4 billion in 2014.
“This accounts for 17.9 per cent of the total US$136.2 billion FDI inflows into the region last year,” he told reporters at the AEC Open Day here Monday.
Mustapa said similarly, intra-ASEAN trade accounted for 24 per cent of the total ASEAN trade or US$608 billion.
Meanwhile, ASEAN’s per capita income now stands at US$4,130 with intra-ASEAN trade expected to grow to 30 per cent by 2020.
He also said being the ASEAN Chairman this year, Malaysia wants to prepare local small and medium enterprises (SMEs), as they are the backbone of the national economy.
“The government will continue to provide financial support to SMEs. We have also identified the transportation and finance sectors as needing extra focus and will be working on it,” he added.
He said the AEC blueprint had now achieved 91 per cent of the stipulated target and aims to hit 95 per cent by this November.
“We are working very hard. We have 506 measures altogether, which are being monitored closely. Of course, our objectives are very modest, as we operate by consensus and do not have supra authority.
“I will be chairing the upcoming ASEAN Economic Meeting on Aug 21 and we will review and talk to each other on what can be done between now and November to push the success rate of 95 per cent,” he added.
According to MITI’s senior director for the AEC division P. Ravindran, at 95 per cent, the integration measures mark a notable achievement, as nowhere in the world is there 100 per cent economic integration.
The AEC Open Day is aimed at creating greater awareness and highlight to SMEs, the opportunities available to them under the AEC.