KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has emerged as the first Asean country to establish a foreign business chamber in the Philippines aimed at cross-promoting the vast opportunities that are yet to be tapped by the two countries.
Membership in the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines, Inc (MCCI), an idea mooted by the International Trade and Industry MInister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, will be open to both Malaysians and Filipino companies and professionals, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
The MCCI was launched on Thursday by Mustapa on the sidelines of the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers' (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings in Pasay City, the Philippines from Sept 4-11.
Miti said that in 2017, Malaysia's total trade and investment with the Philippines continued at a modest level but remained steady.
For the half year of 2017, Malaysia's total trade with the Philippines increased by 28% to RM12.47 billion from RM9.75 billion a year earlier.
In terms of investment, the cumulative direct investment value by Malaysia in the Philippines amounted to RM2.4 billion between 2008 and 2016.
Major investments in the Philippines were mostly in the banking, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.
On the other hand, FDI inflows from the Philippines to Malaysia from 2011 to 2016 amounted to RM3.7 billion in various sectors such as beverages and tobacco, chemical and chemical products, basic metal products, food manufacturing and wood and wood products.
Miti also noted that infrastructure was among the top priorities of the Philippine government with public spending on infrastructure projects targeted to reach US$180 billion between 2017 and 2022.
“This will translate into increasing spending on public infrastructure from 5.32% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017 to as high as 7.45% of GDP by 2022.
“Malaysian companies are taking advantage of the development by participating in a several local projects including the Regional Government Centers in Calabarzon, Nueva Ecija and Bataan which was successfully built by Alloy Mtd,” it said.
Another mega project that Malaysian companies should take advantage of is the Clark Green City, a 9,450ha mixed development project, Miti added.
To date, there are about 30 Malaysian-owned companies operating in the Philippines. - Bernama