As part of the recent Presidential visit in Malaysia, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez met with key business leaders and government officials in Malaysia to strengthen trade ties between the two countries, with emphasis on the opportunities and initiatives for the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

“This is a great opportunity to learn first-hand from businesses how our governments can further support those looking to export and how to continue to attract investment from Malaysia to the Philippines,” Sec. Lopez said.

Sec. Lopez also mentioned that increased collaboration in tourism, halal industry, and Islamic banking are being eyed by the two countries as key areas of cooperation. With the increasing halal market worldwide, with an estimated US$ 2 to 3 trillion global halal market, the Philippines eyes heightened cooperation with Malaysia in increasing trade activities in the region for the said industry.

“Malaysia is being eyed as an active partner in exploring more opportunities for the Halal industry in the region,” the trade chief added.

DTI, as the lead agency of the newly-formed Philippine Halal Board, with its Export Marketing Bureau, plans to increase the awareness of the availability, quality, and integrity of the halal products in the Philippines.

According to the DTI Philippine Trade and Investment Center (DTI-PTIC), Malaysian business leaders expressed confidence in many fields of mutual interest for both sides. Potential projects in the railways industry and palm oil development were also discussed.

Separated by only the Sulu Sea, Malaysia and the Philippines share a long history of cultural and diplomatic relations. In 2015, Malaysia ranked as the country’s 10th major trading partner, 11th export market and 8th import supplier. Total bilateral trade amounted to US$4.3 billion.

Engagements during the visit to Malaysia were organized by the DTI-PTICs in Malaysia and Singapore and the Embassy of the Philippines in Kuala Lumpur. Official meetings between Sec. Lopez and Malaysia Ministry of International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa bin Mohamed, the Malaysia-Philippine Business Council and the private sector were also held in the sidelines President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s visit to Malaysia.

Lopez added that he is proud of the fact that both sides have a strong bilateral trade, with Malaysian companies such as Alloy M T D having a firm foothold in the Philippine economy while Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation has invested heavily in Malaysia.

With the recent presidential visit to Malaysia, DTI expects bulk of investments from Malaysia in the coming months.

Primarily aimed to stimulate growth and foster inclusive development in the region, BIMP-EAGA was formed in 1994 by the Governments of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

PH, Malaysia to strengthen BIMP-EAGA initiatives