Malaysia is ready for the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), driven by rapid growth in its small and medium enterprise (SME) industry, the key to the nation’s economic development.
External consultant of World Trade Institute, Dr Sufian Jusoh, said as a centre bordering most Asean countries, Malaysia has the advantage in terms of securing regional investment opportunities at the early stage.
“Our SMEs may produce components for other member countries as well as getting investors to come in to produce other parts of the same products, which can be supported by SMEs here.
“I would say that we are ready to be competitive because we have SMEs who are dynamic and we have conglomerates like Axiata and Petronas that can work together with the SMEs,” he told Bernama in conjunction with the forum on “The Asean Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) — Transforming investment in Asean through ACIA”.
On the regional front, he said, Asean has the chance to become the new hub of global investment and benefiting from economic uncertainties in Europe and the US.
“We have 10 economic-diverse countries, and if they work together, with 500 million domestic consumers, we would manage to make Asean as a single destination for global investment,” he said.
The forum, which will be held here on Thursday, is expected to attract 200 participants, including investment promotion agencies, regional development agencies and trade and investment negotiators from the 10 Asean members.
Sufian said the forum would introduce and promote better understanding of ACIA, particularly its enhanced features and key provisions, to Asean investors, government agencies, policymakers, academicians and businessmen.
ACIA accelerates the creation of the AEC to benefit a vibrant economic region of over half a billion consumers.
It promises new economic opportunities throughout Asean including in new members states, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
To achieve the objective in becoming single destination for global investment by 2015, ACIA is enhancing the flow of cross-border investment and to promote the free flow of capital by making Asean a more competitive economy and an attractive destination for foreign direct investments.
The forum is organised by Asean and supported by Australian Agency for International Development through the Asean-Australia Development Cooperation Programme II and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.