H.E. Dato??™ Seri Rafidah Aziz, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia led a high level trade and investment delegation to Bangkok from 17-19 March 2005. The Malaysian delegation comprised of members from the private sector, as well as officials from the various ministries and government officials.

The objectives of the visit are to explore investment and business opportunities aimed at enhancing existing bilateral relations between the two countries; to identify new areas for bilateral cooperation, and enhance the participation of the private sector in the economic integration of Malaysia and Thailand.

In conjunction with the visit, a Malaysia-Thailand Business Opportunities Seminar was held on Friday, 18 March 2005 at the Intercontinental Hotel. A total of 686 participants from various business sectors participated in the seminars. 

The seminar provided an excellent opportunity for Thai private sector representatives to learn directly from the Minister about the latest developments in Malaysia and to identify potential areas of cooperation between Thai and Malaysian companies. |

Minister Rafidah in her speech remarked that bilateral trade and investment relations between Malaysia and Thailand have continually identify new areas and mechanisms for expanding the existing bilateral trade and investment levels. She added that there is an increasing number of Malaysian companies moving to invest in Thailand.

These Malaysian companies are tapping on the synergies of collaborating with Thai companies and at the same time, taking advantage of the liberalization of regional markets through the ASEA Free Trade Area (AFTA)  ASEAN Investment AREA (AIA). Minister Rafidah encouraged Thai businessmen to invest and expand their investment in Malaysia.

Minister Rafidah added that the increasing level of cross flow of investments has also contributed to expansion in the volume of trade between both countries. The bilateral trade between both countries has shown a remarkable increase of 42% to US$11.8 billion in 2004 from US$8.3 billion in 2003. Trade has continued to rise from 2000 to 2004, with the exception of a small decline in 2001.

Malaysia??™s exports to Thailand expanded by 70% over the period of five years. In 2004, exports grew by 33% to US$6.1 billion from US$4.6.

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