Malaysia has picked the Philippines as the first country in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region for its trade promotional program. The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) launched the Malaysia Promotion Program (MPP) in Manila on March 11 and is set to mount various productive activities until March 18.
MATRADE is a national trade promotion agency under the umbrella of Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). It is tasked to promote the country’s export products to the world. It previously hosted trade promotion activities in London in the United Kingdom and Sydney in Australia.
MPP Manila is aimed at promoting Malaysia as a destination for trade, investments, and tourism among Filipino investors and travelers. The program kicked off on March 11 with a food and beverage mini-trade fair dubbed as ‘Citarasa Malaysia’ (‘Taste of Malaysia’) held at the Activity Center of Glorietta 2 in Makati City.
The three-day activity, which wrapped up on March 13, showcased some of the best food products from 25 Malaysian companies. At the same time, guests enjoyed colorful cultural performances (sponsored by Tourism Malaysia) from a Malaysian dance troupe.
Malaysia Business Forum
On March 12, MPP Manila mounted a business forum with the theme ‘Leveraging Partnership, ASEAN and Beyond,’ held at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel Manila. Present during the daylong conference were key executives from the Philippine government and private sectors with their Malaysian counterparts.
The forum put the spotlight on trade and opportunities between Malaysia and the Philippines. Key speakers also rendered a review of the regional economy, particularly of the potential of the regional e-commerce sector.
MPP Manila is set to conclude its eight-day mission through its participation at the Worldbex Expo, the biggest building and construction exhibition in Manila, which will be held from March 14 to 18 at three giant venues—SMX Convention Center, the World Trade Center, and the Philippine Trade Training Center, all in Pasay City.
The Malaysian pavilion at the giant fair will showcase 27 Malaysian firms, each aiming to promote professional capabilities and technical expertise in providing building and construction products and services. The Malaysian exhibitors will also accommodate queries from local investors about possible opportunities and business collaboration.
For stronger trade relations
“Despite being Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner among ASEAN countries, I feel that our trade has not reached its full potential,” said Malaysian Trade Minister Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed. “There is immense potential for Malaysia and the Philippines bilateral trade and investment relations to expand in view of the greater economic integration under AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) and the strong growth on economic potential in both countries.”
The trade minister also highlighted its confidence in the robustly growing Philippine economy, which he said was the reason MPP is taking its first regional stop in the country.
At the same time, Malaysia considers the Philippines as a significant business partner. In 2017, the Philippines was the 15th biggest trading partner to Malaysia (with a combined trade of about $5.94 billion or about P302.94 billion, up by a little over 26% from 2016) and the fifth among ASEAN countries.
“Both our governments and the private sector can reap the benefits of stronger regional growth by adopting strategies to strengthen business linkages and expand collaborative initiatives,” the Malaysian trade minister said.