by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
NEW YORK – Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad touted Malaysia’s business-friendly stance as he went about wooing American investors to the country on Thursday.
“In general, Malaysia is still the same Malaysia that once upon a time was very friendly with business people, a country that encouraged foreign direct investment and grew on the basis of such investment,” he said of the nation that he leads as prime minister for the second time, since May 2018.
“It’s the same although I am now no longer in the Barisan Nasional (BN) but the ideas are still coming a lot from me,” he said at a meeting with members of the United States-ASEAN Business Council and US Chamber of Commerce here.
Besides being business-friendly, he said that investors could expect a country that would be listening to the private sector.
NEW YORK, Sept 27 — Malaysia remains very business friendly and continues to welcome foreign investments in the country, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Malaysia is still the same Malaysia that once upon a time was very friendly with business people, encouraged foreign direct investment, grew on the basis of such investment and solved our unemployment problem.
“It’s the same although I am now no longer in Barisan Nasional but the ideas are still coming a lot from me because the new Cabinet is new and a lot of things are brought to my desk and I will try to resolve them for the ministers.
“But the ministers are learning fast so you can expect Malaysia to be the Malaysia that is business-friendly, that will listen to the private sector, that will depend more on the private sector and less on government-run companies,” he said during a meeting with the US-Asean Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce here.
On the sidelines of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed confidence Thailand will become a high-income nation in 17 years.
"By 2036, Thailand will become a high-income country with fairness, respect for basic human rights, and participation of all sectors of society," he said.
The premier made the remarks during a speech about Thailand's perspective on the evolving international landscape at the Asia Society in New York on Wednesday.
In his speech, Gen Prayut said he has laid the foundation for development over the past five years and moved the country forward under the leadership of an elected government.
Gen Prayut also said Southeast Asia -- which is a part of the United States' Indo-Pacific strategy -- is a region of opportunity.
"It has a high working-age population, above-average economic growth, and the region itself is manufacturing hub," he said.
THE trade conflict between the United States and China may be benefiting the Philippines in the short run, but the country, as with fellow Southeast Asian countries, is bound to take a stronger hit from an overall slowdown in export demand if the tariff war is protracted.
That’s why the Philippines has to take stronger action in pushing for the end of the trade conflict, according to Michael W. Michalak, senior vice president and regional managing director of the US-Asean Business Council. “It is kind of hard to separate Asean from the rest of the trade figures because most of the trade figures are all put together,” he said.
“We have obviously seen an impact on trade as exports are down, and exports are down all over the world. I guess the most important thing about the conflict is that nobody wins a trade war. President Trump has said over and over again, trade wars are easy to win, [but] I don’t know on what he bases that,” Michalak said.
AMERICAN investors are more inclined to set up shop in Vietnam than in the Philippines, as they find Hanoi the best investment destination in Southeast Asia due in large part to its fiscal incentives menu and regulatory policy on businesses, a former United States ambassador has said.
Michael W. Michalak, senior vice president and regional managing director of the US-Asean Business Council, said Vietnam is the most preferred investment site among Southeast Asian economies for American investors. The preference may be attributed to the country’s competitive incentives package, as well as to its management of investments, explained Michalak, who was former US ambassador to Vietnam.
Michalak said it also works to Vietnam’s advantage that it is enhancing its menu of incentives to net some of the investments flying out of China in the face of its trade conflict with the US.
THE United States has suspended all efforts to negotiate a free- trade agreement (FTA) with the Philippines until Washington resolves its trade conflict with Beijing, a war that has been hurting the global economy since last year, a former US diplomat has revealed.
US-Asean Business Council Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director Michael W. Michalak said Washington is prioritizing the resolution of its tariff war with Beijing over anything else. As such, its planned trade deal with Manila, which gained headway last year after a series of talks between state officials, has to wait until the trade conflict is neutralized.
In his latest dialogue with Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) executives, Michalak said he was informed of the US government’s decision to settle the China situation first before negotiating new FTAs with trading partners, including the Philippines.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and his entourage will leave for New York to attend the 74th United Nations General Assembly on Saturday.
The trip to the US from Saturday to next Friday will also be attended by Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa.
According to a schedule released to the media, Prayut will also attend two meetings in his capacity as this year’s chairman of Asean to represent ‘s Asean and Thailand’s roles in the international arena as well as to protect Thailand’s interests.
The Department of Science and Technology signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) to promote the development and implementation of science, technology and innovation initiatives of the government in the private sector.
According to a recent press release, the MOU between DOST and the Council will enable the Department to fast-track and strengthen collaboration between industry and government.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. De La Peña shared that the Department welcomes dialogue and partnership with US firms.
Doing so will drive and enhance research and innovation across all sectors and build S&T capacities in the Philippines.
The forms of cooperation under the MOU were enumerated. These are:
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 — Malaysia is committed to continue working with global economies for mutual benefits, including the United States (US) with which the country has had over six decades of strong relationship in terms of trade and investment.
The Ministry of International Trade & Industry (Miti) said bilateral trade with the US grew by 1.2 per cent in 2018 to RM155.76 billion, which constituted 8.3 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade that year.
Similarly, exports to the US increased by 2.4 per cent to RM90.81 billion — the highest recorded since 2008, it said in a statement today.
The upcoming working visit by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to the US is expected to generate further momentum that will result in greater economic cooperation between the two countries, Miti said.
The Department of Finance (DOF) assured foreign investors that the Philippine government continues to implement serious policy reforms while delivering on its commitment to roll out a massive infrastructure program “on time and on budget.”
Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III made this assurance during a meeting with members of the US-ASEAN Business Council at the DOF headquarters. Some 20 senior executives from major US firms operating in the region held their annual Philippine Business Mission here early this week.
Dominguez told the visiting businessmen that the country’s economic growth, which is among the fastest in the region, is expected to be sustained with a business environment that is more investor friendly and resilient in the face of an “adverse” global economic environment.