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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 – Malaysia has further strengthened its ties with the Philippines with the setting of the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines, Inc. (MCCI), which will cross-promote the vast bilateral opportunities.

The MCCI, which is the first foreign chamber from Asean set up in the Philippines, was officially opened by the Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed on Wednesday.

The official launch was held on the sidelines of the 49th Asean Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings underway in Pasay City, the Philippines from Sept 4 to 11.

The proposal for the MCCI was mooted by Mustapa three years ago and this was followed up with the setting up of the MCCI in February 2017.

The MCCI, with 25 members, will complement the role of the Malaysian embassy to boost the bilateral economic relations and to cross-promote the vast opportunities. The membership is open to both Malaysians and Filipinos companies and professionals.

In 2017, Malaysia’s total trade and investment with the Philippines continue at a modest level but remain steady.

For the half year of 2017, Malaysia’s total trade with the Philippines increased by 28% from RM9.75bil to RM12.47bil from the previous corresponding period.

So far, Malaysia has lagged behind in the bilateral investments when compared with the Philippines.

Cumulative direct investment value by Malaysia in the Philippines totalled RM2.4bil from 2008 to 2016. Major investments in the Philippines are mostly in banking, infrastructure and manufacturing.

However, FDI inflows from the Philippines to Malaysia from 2011 to 2016 amounted to RM3.7bil. Most of the FDI was in various sectors such as beverages & tobacco, chemical & chemical products, basic metal products, food manufacturing, wood & wood products.

“Infrastructure is among the top priorities of the Philippines government with public spending on infrastructure projects targeted to reach US$180bil from ‎2017-2022.

“This will translate into increasing spending on public infrastructure from 5.32 % of GDP in 2017 to as high as 7.45 % of GDP by 2022,” said MITI.

MITI said Malaysian companies are participating in a few 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 is the Clark Green City, a 9,450 hectare of mixed development project. To date, there are about 30 Malaysian owned companies in the Philippine

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