KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Highlighting the strong partnership between Malaysia and the Philippines, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual emphasized the country’s best asset–its young, skilled, and tech-savvy human capital during the Philippine Business Opportunities Forum held on July 27. He further stressed that mid-tier Malaysian companies should consider the country as a strategic choice for their operational expansion.

In his speech, Secretary Pascual conveyed to the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Malaysian Consortium of Mid-Tier Companies, and business executives that “Your presence in this significant event serves as a strong indication of the longstanding ties between Filipino and Malaysian business leaders towards the goal of mutual economic growth.”

In 2022, Malaysia ranked as the Philippines’ 10th top trading partner and 11th export market making it one of the country’s largest economic partners in the ASEAN region. Further, Malaysia ranked as the 4th source of the Philippines’ Foreign Direct Investments with US$ 108.65 million. These foreign direct investments displayed a massive increase of 505% in comparison to total investments from 2021.

Secretary Pascual also took the opportunity to emphasize the DTI’s priority industries driven by science, technology, and innovation (STI). As the Department leverages the advantages of

Industry 4.0 technologies, the trade and industry chief underscored its four (4) priority clusters as drivers for growth. These are (1) The Industrial, Manufacturing, and Transport (IMT) cluster; (2) The Technology, Media, and Telecommunication (TMT) cluster; (3) The Health and Life Science (HLS) cluster; and (4) The Modern Basic Needs and Resilient Economy cluster.

L to R: President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual, and Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles C. Jose

The DTI Chief also affirmed the Philippine government’s commitment as outlined in the recent policy reforms enacted by the Philippine government. These include policy reforms, the Ease of Doing Business Act, and Executive Order No. 18 on Green Lanes for Strategic Investments. Further, Secretary Pascual presented the abundant agricultural and marine resources, which are significant to the growing demand for food and seafood production in the region.

Aside from this, the Trade and Industry Secretary invited Malaysian investors to explore the burgeoning Halal market in the country. He underlined the growing demand for Halal-certified products and services, not only in the food sector but also in banks, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. He further reiterated the crucial role of Malaysia in developing this sector as the Philippines aspire to expand its global Halal ecosystem.

The DTI Chief also emphasized that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will strengthen the country’s participation in the regional supply chains which will attract more foreign direct investments (FDI). This is mutually beneficial for both countries as it will enhance market access for most goods in the region and encourage investments in vital sectors.

Lastly, Secretary Pascual assured the Malaysian businesses that “The Philippine government is committed to continue supporting Malaysian investors in their business expansion in the country. We invite you to be our partner in increasing FDIs from Malaysia and in advancing economic cooperation between both countries. We also invite you to explore potential investment opportunities, particularly in the areas of manufacturing, agribusiness, service industry, infrastructure, property development, and renewable energy. Together, Let’s Make It Happen in the Philippines!” ♦

Date of release: 28 July 2023