KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between Malaysia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries is expected to rise by 19% by the end of this year and by 25% next year, said International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
“Today, OIC countries’ share of global merchandise trade is still low. We are still trading with other countries (non-Islamic nations).
“Because of this, Malaysia has successfully signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with Turkey and Pakistan as a catalyst to boost bilateral trade between the Muslim nations,” he said.
He said Muslim nations had much to offer to the world, as they always had, from knowledge and resources to culture and products.
“And now, the Muslim world also has big opportunity in the halal economy and in trade and investment in halal goods and services.
“This opportunity should not be missed by OIC nations as many non-Islamic nations are already seeing the profit in this industry and becoming active in it,” he said after launching the OIC-Asia Trade and Economic Forum 2015 in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
He said the event was not just an opportunity to foster trade and development, but build and reinforce the ability and desire of Muslims globally to contribute to the economic well-being and growth.
Mustapa said Muslim nations had a lot of room to improve in terms of products and services to enable them to diversify into new markets.
“We would like to encourage more Muslim companies from OIC countries to come to Malaysia to set up business here.”
It was reported earlier that between January and May this year, Malaysia’s total trade with OIC countries was valued at US$15.55bil (RM66.9bil), down 19.7% from US$19.37bil (RM83.3bil) in the same period in 2014.
Total exports to OIC countries for the first five months of 2015 amounted to US$8.20bil (RM35.3bil), a drop of 20.5% from US$10.33bil (RM44.4bil) in the same period in 2014. - Bernama