HANOI, Dec 10 – An action plan for a Malaysia-Vietnam strategic partnership is expected to be completed in early 2017 in order to achieve a bilateral trade target of US$15 billion by 2020. International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said they have given out our inputs to the Vietnamese side. He said he think by early next year it can be finalised.
He was speaking to the Malaysian media to wrap his business mission here on Friday. Also present was Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam Mohd Zamruni Khalid. As of 2015, bilateral trade between Malaysia and Vietnam stood at US$9.3 billion, up from US$2.2 billion in 2005.
Within Asean, Vietnam was Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner, export destination and source of imports from 2012 to 2015, while Malaysia was Vietnam’s 10th largest trading partner for 2015. In 2016, the bilateral trade was estimated to reach US$10 billion.
Mustapa said there were a lot commitments from both governments to step up the implementation of the strategic partnership. In August 2015, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung set the bilateral target of US$15 billion or higher by 2020.
“In the next four years, we have to grow about 20% per annum. It is tough, but what is clear is the rate of our growth with Vietnam is very much higher than the average,” Mustapa said, pointing out that Malaysian companies would have a good future in Vietnam in tandem with its steady economic growth over the years.
According to the World Bank, Vietnam’s GDP per capita growth has been among the fastest in the world since the 1990s, averaging at 6.4% a year in the 2000s. Vietnam’s economy continued to strengthen in 2015, with an estimated GDP growth rate of 6.7%. Among sectors of the Vietnamese economy that Malaysian companies could tap into are energy, infrastructure as well as oil and gas.
“They need a lot of investments in power and also highways linking north and south. I am sure Malaysian companies are prepared to look at these opportunities,” said Mustapa. To attract more inbound investments from Vietnam, Mustapa sees the Malaysia My Second Home and medical tourism as two potential areas to tap into.
“I see a lot of potential in Malaysia My Second Home due to the growing middle class in Vietnam and outside Vietnam. There is also growing interest in medical tourism to Malaysia,” he added. Mustapa, who led a 40-member delegation comprising business leaders from the Asean Business Club and Kuala Lumpur Business Club, said the government would get the private sector to be actively involved in driving promotional efforts. — Bernama