KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia Malaysian companies need to explore further collaboration in the Philippines, especially in key sectors such as building materials, furniture and palm oil.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said the Philippine market has been receptive towards Malaysian goods and services and bilateral trade between the two countries grew 26 per cent to US$5.9 billion in 2017.

Asserting the need to sustain the trade growth momentum, he said the Philippine administration is currently focusing on infrastructure development as a catalyst for further economic growth.

It has unveiled the six-year ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure development programme worth US$180 billion which is expected to transform its landscape, he said in conjunction with the Malaysia Promotion Programme (MPP) in Manila.

Mustapa said Malaysian companies have a strong presence in the Philippines and among them Maybank, Alloy-MTD, Metro Parking, and Zico Law, while Philippine companies such as Petron were doing well in Malaysia.

Following its entry (into Malaysia) in 2011, Petron has invested US$1.5 billion and is currently operating 600 petrol stations, bagging a net profit of about US$100 million in 2017 the highest since Petron started operating in the Malaysian market, he said.

Organised by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, the MPP, which ends on March 18, attracted 200 representatives from the Philippine business community and 30 Malaysian companies.

The Philippines will remain an important economic partner for us and a stronger collaboration will enhance (the) ASEAN economic integration, as well as promote equitable economic growth in the region.

A stronger economic growth for ASEAN will benefit Malaysia, given that 29 per cent of our exports are going into the region, Mustapa added.

Source: NAM News Network