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Malaysia unveils package to attract Saudi investments
Riyadh 22ed May 2001

 Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry Rafidah Aziz has unveiled a package of incentives designed to boost Saudi investment in the manufacturing and other sectors. The minister spelled out details of the scheme at a Saudi-Malaysian investment seminar held here yesterday.

The seminar was attended by a large gathering of Saudi businessmen led by Abdulrahman Al-Jeraisy, president of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Malaysian Ambassador Wan Mokhtar Wan was also present.

Earlier, Al-Jeraisy said plans were afoot to set up a Saudi-Malaysian Business Council as part of a bilateral move to boost trade and investments. An agreement will be signed at the next session of the Saudi-Malaysian Joint Economic Commission.

Addressing the seminar, Aziz said the signing of five bilateral agreements between May 21,1974 and Oct. 25 last year had given a push to bilateral trade mostly in favor of Saudi Arabia, whose exports to Malaysia stood at $633.3 million last year.

“Though Saudi Arabia is the second most important market for Malaysian products in the Middle East, it only accounted for 0.3 percent of the country’s total exports.” Aziz called on Saudi businessmen to source their imports competitively from Malaysia, especially in the automotive, construction, food processing and manufacturing sectors.

Referring to the Saudi exports, she said crude oil accounted for $373 million (58.9 percent of Saudi exports to Malaysia) and petroleum products $153.2 million (24.2 percent), with petrochemicals making up the rest.

Aziz said as part of efforts to foster trade exchange between the two countries, Malaysia has already relaxed entry procedures for Saudis by dispensing with the visa requirement.

She said Saudi businessmen would find lucrative business opportunities in Malaysia’s manufacturing sector, the main engine of growth, that recorded a value-added growth rate of 21 percent and accounted for 33.4 percent of the GDP last year.

“In addition, Saudis could consider investing in the Malaysian equity market. Currently, the price earning ratio of the shares in the Malaysian stock market is undervalued, indicating that the Malaysian stock market has growth prospects.”

The Malaysian minister said her country welcomes and supports the Kingdom’s accession to the WTO. She said Saudi students were welcome to study in Malaysian institutions of higher learning. Last year, she pointed out, the country issued 18,866 student visas to foreign students. Of these, only 23 were from Saudi Arabia.

Aziz said Malaysia had become an attractive destination for Saudi tourists. Last year, 27,808 Saudis visited Malaysia, the largest tourist arrivals from the Middle East.

Source: Arab News©
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