U.S. Businesses meet Malaysian Government, discussing Industry4WRD and 2020 APEC Chairmanship

(Kuala Lumpur)- From August 20-22, the US-ASEAN Business Council led a delegation of 20 leading U.S. global companies to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  The mission is part of the Council’s continued effort to position member companies as partners and stakeholders committed to Malaysia’s dynamic and inclusive growth.  The delegation met with top Malaysian government officials to understand ways in which the U.S. business community can support the government’s top goals and key initiatives, including the Industry4WRD national policy. The mission also discussed Malaysia’s objectives and potential theme for its 2020 Chairmanship of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The mission was co-led by Alexander C. Feldman, President and CEO of the US-ASEAN Business Council, Chairman of US-ABC’s Malaysia Committee, Ramzi Toubassy, Chief Executive Officer of AmMetLife, and Ambassador Michael W. Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council.  Ambassador Michalak has also previously served as the Senior U.S. Official to APEC.
 
“Malaysia is the United States’ second largest trading partner in ASEAN and will next be leading APEC in a milestone year for evaluating the Bogor Goals for developing economies, which is why dialogues like the ones had in Kuala Lumpur are so critical,” said Alexander C. Feldman. “U.S. companies are interested in Malaysia as a place to do business as the government pursues its Industry4WRD national policy. Our conversation with the government over this past week will help encourage interested businesses to deepen their collaboration and presence in the country.”

APEC member countries set the Bogor goals in 1994.  The 21-member group committed to achieving free and open trade by 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for developing economies.

“I’m honored to chair the US-ASEAN Business Council’s Malaysia Committee on behalf of MetLife,” said Ramzi Toubassy. “The Council is committed to enhancing the U.S-Malaysia economic and commercial relationship, helping grow Malaysia’s economy and improving the lives and experiences of our customers and local talent. The breadth of companies and industries represented in this delegation speaks to the value U.S. businesses place on our engagement with Malaysia. We would like to thank the various Ministries and government leaders who were able to meet with us over the past three days. We look forward to working with the government to help grow Malaysia’s economy and support the development of the country.”

In discussing Malaysia’s goals for its APEC Chairmanship year, mission delegates sought to learn how Malaysia’s leadership may shape the 21-member group’s efforts in reducing barriers to trade and investment. The delegation was interested in understanding how Malaysia’s chairmanship of APEC would provide opportunities for future trade policy.


The 20-company delegation engaged with Malaysian officials to discuss ways to spur investment and simplify business processes. Member delegates also urged the government to take a transparent, consultative approach to policymaking and to establish clear governance and regulatory frameworks for industry. The delegation specifically discussed opportunities for growth in the digital economy, financial services, energy and infrastructure, and healthcare sectors.

Companies on the mission were Agoda, AIG, Amazon, Citi, ConocoPhillips, Expedia, FedEx, Harley-Davidson, Herbalife Nutrition, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Mastercard, McLarty Associates, MetLife, Motorola Solutions, Oracle, Rockwell Automation, Salesforce, Visa and VMware.

Welcoming the delegation, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Surina Shukri, thanked the US business community for their continued support and confidence in Malaysia as a regional hub for Digital Economy investments, adding, “Located in the heart of ASEAN, and blessed with a rich diverse multicultural heritage, Malaysia is pleased to work with forward thinking business communities, such as the US business community, and we will continue to enhance our inclusive dynamic ecosystems to bring mutual benefits to both countries."

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For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.