PETALING JAYA: The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (Miti) has secured RM2.4 billion of potential exports of Malaysian goods and services through the inaugural official visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to the Krgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan from May 15 to 19.

Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz was part of the prime ministerial delegation.

In a press statement, Miti said the potential exports are in sectors such as electrical and electronic (E&E) products; palm oil and palm oil-based products; fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG); energy and industrial solutions; food and beverage (F&B); furniture; halal products and services; oil and gas (O&G); building materials and construction; professional services; and jewellery.

These export commitments were made by captains of industry in separate roundtable meetings with Anwar in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

This encouraging outcome signifies the strengthening of economic ties between Malaysia and these Central Asian countries.

In Astana, Kazakhstan, Anwar and Kazakhstan Prime Minister Olzhas Bektenov jointly chaired a roundtable meeting between 26 prominent business leaders from 12 Kazakh companies which are also among the country’s largest private entities, and representatives from several Malaysian government-linked companies (GLC) and 14 other Malaysian firms.

The Kazakh companies represented industries such as mining, O&G, energy, construction, FMCG and tourism.

In Samarkand, Anwar and Uzbekistan Deputy Prime Minister Jamshid Khodjaev, jointly chaired a high-level business forum for more than 200 representatives from leading Uzbek companies, several Malaysian GLC and Malaysian companies.

The companies represented various industries including pharmaceutical, construction and real estate, O&G, retail and distribution as well as financial services.

During both meetings, Anwar underscored the importance of strengthening bilateral and economic ties in facing complex global challenges, while reiterating Malaysia’s commitment towards building robust trade, investment and cultural linkages.

The prime minister also witnessed the exchange of eight memorandums of understanding (MoU) between Malaysian entities and those from Kazakhstan as well as Uzbekistan. One of the MoUs was between Miti’s agency, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Uzbekistan (CCIU).

This MoU signifies more upcoming opportunities for Malaysian businesses as CCIU is Uzbekistan’s largest business chamber, representing more than 280,000 members. Other MoUs exchanged were in the areas of trade promotion, training and education, research and development as well as retail and distribution.

Tengku Zafrul said, “We are pleased to have achieved RM2.4 billion of cumulative potential exports from the businesses in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. This significant figure – confirmed through the roundtable meetings in both countries – reflects their respective business communities’ growing trust in Malaysia as a strategic partner in trade and investment. Miti will ensure that those export commitments are realised as quickly as possible to support Malaysia’s GDP growth.”

He added that there are numerous opportunities for Malaysian companies in the Central Asia region. Through Matrade’s presence in Almaty and Tashkent, they will expand business opportunities for Malaysian companies, and Miti will ensure these will translate into commercial opportunities for Malaysian SMEs, and jobs for Malaysians.

Malaysia and Uzbekistan also agreed to reactivate the Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meeting. The JTC serves as a platform to address issues of interest; discuss existing and possible new areas of cooperation; strengthen private sector collaboration and further encourage trade and investment between the two countries.