Najib and French PM to focus on trade ties


MORE INVESTORS: French interested in green technology and biotechnology industries

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will host a meeting with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault, in Putrajaya today   to further strengthen Malaysia-France  economic relations.

 Ayrault, who arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday, is here on a two-day official visit to discuss a number of issues that will be beneficial to Malaysia and France.

 These issues include technology, trade, tourism and culture.

 Ayrault is accompanied by his wife, Brigitte.

 On hand to greet their  arrival at 5.45pm were Deputy International Trade and Industry  Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri and  Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin.

 Bilateral trade   peaked at more than RM22 billion last year, making Malaysia France’s second biggest trading and economic partner in Southeast Asia, a region which has been described as economically dynamic.

 It has also been noted that French companies in Malaysia have mushroomed in recent years.

 There has also been  a considerable number of expatriates and an increase in French tourists, following the  launch of direct flights between Kuala Lumpur and Paris by Air France recently.

 The meeting between Najib and Ayrault is also expected to touch on  aviation, defence and electronics, with observers saying that  more   such companies would  be established in Malaysia.

 France is said to be particularly interested in industries involved in Malaysia’s Economic Transformation Programme, such as green technology and biotechnology.

 Today, Najib and Ayrault are scheduled to witness a signing of a memorandum of understanding between French multinational company Thales Group and KTM Bhd (KTMB) to supply railway
 signalling simulators and equipment.

 Thales Group designs and builds electrical systems and provides services for defence, aerospace, transportation and security markets.
It is also understood that Thales will provide facilities and the training syllabus for KTMB’s Malaysian Railway Academy.

 At the same time, France aspires to take advantage of the potential in youth  through education, by arranging more international exchange programmes with Malaysia for its teachers and students.

 This sentiment is shared by Najib, who had from time to time stressed on the importance of youth development to reap long-term benefits in spearheading
economic endeavours in the future.

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his wife, Brigitte, are seen arriving by helicopter in Kone, New Caledonia, on Saturday while on a three-day visit to the Pacific Ocean French territory. AFP pic

Datuk Seri Najib Razak will have wide-ranging talks with his French counterpart

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