NANNING: Malaysia remains supportive and commends Asean and China’s efforts to conclude the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) 3.0 upgrade negotiations by 2024, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

He said the ongoing ACFTA 3.0 upgrade negotiations are pivotal for post-pandemic recovery, enhancing Asean-China trade and investment relations and ensuring the free flow of goods and services.

“The inclusion of new growth areas -- such as the digital economy, green economy, supply chain connectivity, competition, consumer protection and micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), ensures the agreement’s relevance and foresight,” he said in his opening remarks at the 20th China-Asean Expo (Caexpo) and the China-Asean Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) here today.

The ACFTA was the first Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by Asean with external parties and has been in place since Jan 1, 2010.

“China has been Asean’s top trading partner for 14 consecutive years, no doubt a testament to the strong and vibrant economic ties as well as our shared commitments.

“For Malaysia, China remains our primary export destination with record-breaking exports exceeding RM200 billion, growing by 9.4 percent to RM210.6 billion (US$47.8 billion) in 2022,” he said.

Anwar who is also Finance Minister is leading the Malaysian delegation to the Caexpo, where he is scheduled to officiate the Malaysian Pavilion at Caexpo.

He is also scheduled to attend a bilateral meeting and luncheon with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, where both leaders will discuss the state of Malaysia-China bilateral relations and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual concern.

The prime minister is also expected to have an engagement with Chinese corporate giants here after the meeting with Li.

This trip marks the second visit to China for Anwar as the prime minister made his maiden visit to China in March this year, where he visited Beijing and Hainan after taking office last November.

The first visit saw Malaysia secured a record RM170 billion worth of investment commitments from the world’s second-largest economy.

Also present are Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz, Minister of Local Government Development Nga Kor Ming, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Mohamad Alamin and Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Chan Foong Hin. - Bernama

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