US Trade envoy meets Anwar in Putrajaya

PUTRAJAYA: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai called on Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Putrajaya Thursday, for a high-profile discussion on the importance of the US-Malaysia trade and investment relationship.

Tai, the top US trade envoy serving under President Joe Biden’s administration, is on a one-day visit to Malaysia where she also met International Trade and Industry Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, as Malaysia and US reaffirmed commitment to intensify collaboration to strengthen bilateral economic ties, as well as at the multilateral and regional levels.

According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) statement, Anwar in welcoming Tai to Malaysia highlighted that Malaysia and the U.S. enjoyed a deep and vibrant bilateral relationship, blessed with deep linkages in the long-standing and multifaceted relationship with extensive trade and investment ties.

The meeting between Anwar and Tai at Perdana Putra for almost two hours was also attended by Tengku Zafrul and US Ambassador to Malaysia Brian D. McFeeters.

Currently, there are over 600 US companies operating in Malaysia with major investments in the electrical and electronics (E&E) and renewable energy sectors.

In 2022, the total trade between Malaysia and the U.S. grew by 23.3 per cent to RM267.58 billion (USD60.70 billion) compared with RM216.97 billion (USD52.33 billion) in 2021.

The US is currently Malaysia’s third-largest trading partner after China and Singapore.

According to the MITI statement, Tengku Zafrul commended the role of the US in pioneering the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a 14-member regional trade alliance that discusses facilitation of trade; supply chain resiliency; clean energy, decarbonisation and climate change; as well as tax and corruption.

Tengku Zafrul also said that it was crucial for IPEF to outline tangible outcomes towards achieving common trade and investment objectives in the Indo-Pacific region.

In adapting to the current business megatrend, both Tengku Zafrul and Tai agreed that compliance with the principles of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in businesses is the key way forward, the statement said.

Tengku Zafrul also expressed enthusiasm towards engaging in tangible discussions with the US, as the Chair of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2023, and other APEC Economies in uplifting innovation, digitalisation, inclusivity and sustainability agenda in 2023, especially in advancing the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The MITI statement said Malaysia believed that the APEC 2023 theme “Creating a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All” is apt and relevant to address the current economic challenges towards attaining APEC’s objective.

“As founding members of APEC, Malaysia and the US have a pertinent role to assume in achieving APEC deliverables, particularly in supporting the realisation of Putrajaya Vision 2040 launched during Malaysia’s chairmanship of APEC in 2020,“ it said. – Bernama