KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and US President Barack Obama today witnessed the signing of US$2 billion worth of commercial deals between Malaysian and American companies in the aviation, biotechnology and insurance sectors. Speaking at the event, Obama said the close trade and investment relations between Malaysia and the US would create jobs and economic opportunities in both countries. “Yesterday, we agreed (for a) new comprehensive partnership between Malaysia and the United States and work to expand our economic touch. The US is already the largest foreign investor in Malaysia and Malaysia is the fastest growing investor in the United states,” he said. Moving forward, both countries can look ahead for more growth and prosperity, he said.

“This require commitment and stepping up our game, competing hard, investing more, not only in each other’s countries but throughout the region. “We need to do more to promote more trade and this includes reducing some of the existing barriers for trade and investment, support partnership, exports and jobs,” he added. Meanwhile, the first memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between GE Aviation and AirAsia X for the selection of CF6-80E1 engines to power AirAsia X’s 25 new Airbus A330-300 aircraft worth more than US$1.5 billion. These engines will be covered by a multi-year OnPoint solution service agreement for engine maintenance, repair and overhaul. Including this deal, parent company, AirAsia, has ordered over 600 GE engines. The second MoU was for Sime Darby to take a 30 per cent stake worth US$30 million in San Diego-based biotech company, Verdezyne.

Verdezyne will use the investment to fund research and development in the US on replacing petroleum-derived materials with renewable sources, reducing dependence on oil for creating widely used product such as plastic and nylon. Both companies also agreed to develop new processes to convert palm oil by-products into renewable petroleum substitutes for industrial purposes. The third MoU was for a partnership between Ambank and Metlife, which the latter has invested nearly US$250 million to buy shares in AmLife and AmTakaful. This investment represents the first US investment in the Malaysian takaful market. Both Ambank and Metlife expect the deal will support jobs and enhanced employee expertise both in the US and Malaysia.

— Photo By:  REUTERS/Larry Downing

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