KUALA LUMPUR: China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner for 13 consecutive years, with bilateral trade hitting a record high US$176.8 billion) for last year.
Its ambassador to Malaysia Ouyang Yujing said the bilateral trade volume increased by 19.7 per cent year-on-year to US$61.57 billion in the first four months of this year, having marked a double-digit increase in trade volume for 17 consecutive months.
"China's non-financial direct investment in Malaysia increased by 26.6 per cent year-on-year," Ouyang said at the 'Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) 32nd Anniversary Gala Dinner' at the Shangri-La Hotel in Jalan Sultan Ismail.
Ouyang said Malaysia's total trade volume with China had reached US$176.8 billion (about RM740 billion) last year, with a 34.5 per cent year-on-year growth, involving 43 manufacturing projects with investments worth US$3.98 billion that would generate nearly 14,000 employment opportunities in the country.
Ouyang noted that May 31 marked the 48th anniversary of China and Malaysia establishing diplomatic relations.
"We, together with our Malaysian partners, have organised a series of celebratory activities to commemorate this great event 48 years ago. China and Malaysia established diplomatic relations on the principles of mutual respect and peaceful coexistence, and started a new journey since then.
"These 48 years have witnessed our sturdy friendship and genuine brotherhood, tested and consolidated by numerous challenges and difficulties. China and Malaysia will continue to work together despite difficulties and challenges and will further promote our comprehensive strategic partnership," said Ouyang.
He also said he had visited Melaka with his embassy staff last month, where they re-studied the history of Admiral Zheng He's seven voyages to the Western Ocean and his five visits to the historical city.
"In Melaka, I keenly felt and saw in person the long-standing friendship and strong ties between the two nations, and was impressed by how people of all generations enjoyed and benefited from the fruits of this valuable friendship," Ouyang said.
He added that under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the two countries had furthered and consolidated their strategic cooperation and coordination.
"The 'Two Countries, Twin Parks' - at the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park and China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park - will mark its tenth anniversary this year.
"The ECRL has achieved about 30 per cent fulfillment despite the pandemic's negative impact.These projects will effectively drive the regional economic development and bring benefits to local people.
"I am confident that there is great potential for further cooperation and more achievements to expect in the China-Malaysia economic and trade cooperation in the future," said Ouyang.
On the MCCC, Oyuang added that it was established to promote economic and trade development, as well as enhance investment cooperation between the two countries.
"The chamber remains dedicated and steadfast on this mission, acting as a bridge to help connecting business people of both countries.
"They actively organised delegations to attend various events in China, assisted non-Chinese Malaysian businessmen to learn about China and do business in China, and did many other great jobs.
"The MCCC leaders' passion and confidence on China-Malaysia future cooperation and economic development has impressed me. With China-Malaysia relations going deeper, I firmly believe MCCC will play an even more weighty and influential role," he said.
Ouyang warned that the world was undergoing profound changes.
However, despite multiple instabilities and uncertainties, China he said, was determined to keep its high-quality development mode, which was a strong force to keep the global economy develop in a positive manner.
"We will continue with the opening-up policy and high-quality economic development mode, which will give strong confidence and impetus to world economic development.
"Our entry into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is another impetus for the Asia Pacific economic development, which will bring about new sectors and business models to our bilateral cooperation. It will help accelerate the post-pandemic economic recovery and boom the long-term growth.
"Malaysia is implementing its 12th Malaysia Plan and working on realising the 'Shared Prosperity Vision 2030'. "In the future, China and Malaysia will continue to work together, fighting against difficulties and benefiting from our common developments," he said.
The ambassador also said China would further expand cooperation in traditional industries such as electrical and electronic industries, automotive manufacturing, chemical smelting, railways and ports.
"We will tap into the development potential of emerging industries such as digital economy, green development, e-commerce and cyber-security," Ouyang said.
He added that China would enhance people-to-people exchanges and cultural communications.
All of these, he said, would surely help to promote the two countries' comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights.
"There is a Chinese saying which says, 'Every single step contributes to a journey of a thousand miles; every drop of water from rivers and streams forms the enormous ocean'. In the same way, every one of us here today is an important driving force of making the China-Malaysia cooperation a success.
"Let us keep to the spirit of 'Bukit Sama Didaki, Lurah Sama Dituruni' (enduring difficulties together), and work hard to create a new chapter of China-Malaysia cooperation," Ouyang said.
MCCC president Datuk Tan Yew Sing hoped RCEP would inject impetus into the economic recovery of Asean.
He said the regional FTA would incorporate economic powers such as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – whose 2.3 billion population had a 29 per cent share of the global gross domestic product.
"RCEP's main features include abolishing import taxes, promoting international trade and investment liberalisation, protecting intellectual property rights, promoting cross-border e-commerce facilities and economic and technical cooperation.
"While complementing the BRI, it also allows participating countries to continue implementing their domestic laws and regulations, including official procurement and they do not have to open up their market, but only ensure the transparency of information.
"Both RCEP and the BRI aim to build a partnership rather than an alliance, to develop a globally interconnected international trade network, reducing trade protectionism in participating countries," said Tan.
He added that MCCC's field trips and business delegations to China - participating in major trade shows such as the Canton Fair and the China Marine Economy Expo – served as a platform for them to explore the Chinese market to create a win-win and friendly relationship.
"To ensure sustainable growth, MCCC must adhere to its principles, strive to be better and seek strategical cooperation with others," he said.