Minister for Investment and Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith met with executive committee members of the Malaysia Australia Business Council (MABC) in Kuala Lumpur today as part of his week-long visit to South East Asia.
The program of meetings presented the Minister with an opportunity to discuss the South Australian Government’s plans for a trade delegation to Malaysia later this year to be led by the Premier later this year. In addition South Australia intends to appoint staff later this year providing in-country trade representation in Malaysia, which will further boost trade relations.
Minister Hamilton-Smith said Malaysia has one of the most sophisticated economies, advanced infrastructure networks and stable political environments in the region and its population is becoming increasingly wealthy and urbanised, creating a hub of globally connected consumers.
“Building on strong bilateral relationships, Australia and South Australia are well positioned to participate in Malaysia’s development through business and institutional involvement in areas such as Infrastructure, food, healthcare, manufacturing, energy and agribusiness,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“There are also multiple opportunities across the education and training particularly in the food safety, defence, oil and gas and health sectors.”
Mr Hamilton-Smith said increasing the State’s presence in South East Asia will help strengthen cultural and trade links with the region and was a key objective of the recently launched South Australia-South East Asia Engagement Strategy.
“South East Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and there are exciting opportunities here to build on our existing ties with the region and open up new links that will help benefit business in both jurisdictions,” Mr Hamilton-Smith said.
“Our engagement strategy offers a detailed blueprint of how we can increase our presence in the region, conduct bilateral business missions and build stronger social, cultural and economic connections that benefit both our State and South East Asia.”
Meetings with the MABC were led by its Chairman, Mr. Leigh Howard. “Today’s meetings with Minister Hamilton-Smith, leading corporate members and executives committee members of the MABC presented a great opportunity to discuss the unique opportunities that exist in Malaysia. This is important as the MABC will play a leading role in South Australia’s proposed business mission to Malaysia in August 2015” stated Mr. Howard.
“With its South East Asia Engagement Strategy, the South Australian Government has placed itself in an excellent position to both increase trade and garner a larger share of inward investment from ASEAN” continued Mr. Howard
“We also expect the nature of the trade relationship to evolve from one dominated by commodities to services. Last year South Australia’s major exports to Malaysia consisted of wheat, wine and over RM1 billion worth of copper. Over the coming years we expect to see increased growth in the services component of the relationship including education, healthcare and aged care.
The MABC also arranged a meeting with the Minister and the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water. “We were pleased to hold a meeting with KeTTHA. There was a lot of information shared about market conditions, regulations and investment opportunities. This was important in the context of investment by Malaysian investment into South Australia in this sector.” Concluded Mr. Howard.
The Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water was represented by Deputy Secretary General (Energy) Dato’ Dr. Nadzri bin Yahaya and Ir. Ahmad Hadri Haris is the Chief Executive Officer of Malaysian Green Technology Corporation. Also present was Datuk Yong Soo Heong the Chairman of the Malaysia Global Business Forum.
The Malaysia Australia Business Council will continue to act as the bridge for businesses and to actualize government collaboration between Malaysia and Australia.
The South Australia – South East Asia Engagement Strategy can be found atwww.statedevelopment.sa.gov.au/southeastasia