Friday April 5, 2013

Malaysia-Chile bilateral trade expected to double in 3 years to RM3.08bil

<B>Rehren:</b> ‘By Jan 2016, 98% of tariff lines would be eliminated by Chile and Malaysia.’ Rehren: ‘By Jan 2016, 98% of tariff lines would be eliminated by Chile and Malaysia.’

PETALING JAYA: Bilateral trade between Chile and Malaysia is targeted to double to US$1bil (RM3.08bil) in three years, aided by the free trade agreement (FTA) that was enforced in February 2012.

“For the nine months of 2012, we experienced encouraging growth after the FTA was enforced last year. This is set to grow further as both countries progressively drop effective tariff lines.

“By Jan 2016, 98% of tariff lines would be eliminated by Chile and Malaysia,” Chile's ambassador to Malaysia Christian Rehren said at a briefing.

He said total trade between Chile and Malaysia reached US$402mil, up from US$364mil in 2011.

Chile's exports to Malaysia declined marginally to US$208mil from US$210mil in 2011 due to the slump in international prices of copper, a key component for the manufacturing sector.

Exports from Malaysia to Chile, however, surged by 25.8% to US$191mil from US$154mil previously.

Duties on 90% of tariff lines have already been eliminated, and products involved in immediate tariff elimination include major products such as palm oil, cocoa powder, textiles and textile products, rubber products, footwear and wood products.

Besides engaging the business community in more trading activities, Rehren also said the country was looking forward to tapping Malaysia's expertise in Islamic finance as well as the halal food market.

“Our long-term plan is to develop the halal industry as well as tap into the tourism sector, which Malaysia is strong in,” he said.

Chile has also forged 22 trade agreements with 60 countries, including the European Union, China, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Canada and Mexico.

The agreements currently in force encompass 63% of the world's population, while agreements signed but not yet in force make up 86% of the global gross domestic product.

“Malaysia constitutes 0.03% of direct investment to Chile and this is the opportunity for more room for growth, as relations between the business community from boths sides could be enhanced further,” he noted.

He said both countries had interests and strengths that complemented each other and would play an important role in assisting both countries' aspirations to become developed economies.

Chile has an agenda to reach developed nation status by 2018, set by its current President Sebastin Piera back in 2010, while Malaysia has Vision 2020 i.e. to become a fully developed nation seven years from now.

“In the last five years, Asia has played an important role in growing Chile's trade, and 44% of our total exports are heading to Asia, largely to China, Japan and South Korea,” he said.

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