Malaysian firms eyeing presence in Philippines

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In line with the looming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) integration, an eight-person delegation from the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) recently visited the country to discuss the interest of Malaysian manufacturers in the country’s market and investment opportunities.

“As part of the preparations for the Asean Economic Community [AEC], we express interest in strengthening strategic alliances with Malaysian manufacturers in the region’s value chains,” said Department Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr.

The AEC’s goal by 2015 is regional economic integration in the Southeast Asia region. It envisions the following key characteristics: a single market and production base; a highly competitive economic region; equitable economic development; and a region fully integrated into the global economy.

The FMM is the largest private-sector economic organization in Malaysia representing over 2,500 manufacturing and industrial service companies in varying sizes.

It was established in 1968 and is officially recognized and acknowledged as the voice of manufacturing industry in Malaysia. It is also said to have consistently led Malaysian manufacturers in spearheading the country’s growth and modernization.

“Opportunities for participation in the Philippine economy are plentiful, and we have a competitive advantage in terms of availability of skilled labor, world-class industrial parks, competitive incentives, and a large domestic market,” Manalo said.

Malaysian manufacturers
The FMM delegation was led by Adrian Yeo and composed of Continental Top Products and Engineering Sdn Bhd; Dpstar Thermo Control Electric Sdn Bhd; Mega Fortis Trading Sdn Bhd; Reka Setia Playground Sdn Bhd; Sri Kota Rubber Mfg Sdn Bhd; Tech-Lab Manufacturing Sdn Bhd; and Tuck Sun and Co. Sdn Bhd.

The Malaysian companies have interests in accounting services; commercial and special purpose vehicles; industrial instruments and equipment; security seals; playground, fitness and theme park equipment; automotive weather-strips and industrial rubber seals; laboratory and medical equipment and safety cabinets and integrated logistics.

The FMM delegation also met with officials and members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry for networking and business-matching.

Trading partner
According to the National Statistical Coordination Board data, total Investments Promotion Agencies-approved foreign-direct investments (FDI) from Malaysia in the country amounted to P11.67 billion from 2003 to 2012.

A bulk of these investments is in the manufacturing and construction sectors. In 2012, total FDI from Malaysia amounted to P1.599 billion, a 281-percent increase from P567.6 million recorded in 2011.

In 2012, Malaysia ranked as the Philippines’ 11th trading partner, 11th export market and 10th major importer. According to the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion data, Philippine merchandise exports to Malaysia amounted to $1.018 billion and total bilateral trade was valued at $3.511.89 billion in 2012.

The FMM was among the foreign exhibitors that joined in the Ninth International Food Exhibition, which is a global showcase of Asia’s tropical food and the Philippines’ fresh, processed, Halal-certified and organic food sectors.

Koh Wee Leng, FMM International Business Division assistant manager, said that some FMM’s exhibitors will go back to look for sole distributors in the Philippines. She expects that the FMM will come back in a bigger group since half of their members are into food production.

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