TASHKENT, May 4 – The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation’s (Matrade) office here will continue with efforts to increase awareness of what Malaysia has to offer in terms of products and services to Uzbekistan in the hope of enhancing trade volume. Malaysian ambassador to Uzbekistan Abdul Aziz Harun said despite competition from other countries in doing business with the country, Malaysia certainly had its own strengths in countering it. “If we’re able to further convince businesses here that our products are of good quality offered at competitive prices, then there shouldn’t be a problem for Malaysian companies to make further inroads into the Uzbekistan market,” he added.

Abdul Aziz was speaking to the Malaysian media covering the official four-day visit by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to Uzbekistan ahead of the Malaysian deputy prime minister’s arrival in Tashkent Sunday evening. He noted that business competition came from countries like China, but Malaysia “had its own niche” in Uzbekistan, a landlocked country of over 30 million people which shares borders with Afghanistan, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Official data showed that total bilateral trade between Malaysia and the Central Asian republic in 2013 stood at US$71.46 million, largely in Malaysia’s favour.

Malaysia exported US$69.83 million worth of products to Uzbekistan, namely, electronic and electrical items, processed food, palm and vegetable oils, cocoa products, machinery appliances and rubber products. Uzbekistan exported mainly chemical products and services valued at US$1.63 million to Malaysia. Malaysian investments in Uzbekistan stood at about US$350 million, mainly by petroleum giant, Petronas. Elaborating, Abdul Aziz noted that Uzbekistan had to import items like surgery gloves as well as palm oil, with the latter partly due to declining production in this country of cooking oil made from sunflower, for example.

The ambassador, who has been based in Tashkent since 2008, said Malaysian palm oil had a lot of potential, shown by export volumes of about five tonnes annually a few years ago which has ballooned to some 45,000 tonnes now. Muhyiddin’s visit here includes a rountable meeting with Uzbekistan captains of industry, focusing on efforts to further enhance business as well trade and investment linkages between the two countries.

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