News From : DagangHalal.com (22 Oct 2009)
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) — There is renewed interest among the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) countries to look at trade and investment opportunities within member countries.
“Due to the global economic downturn, there seem to be a shift in interest among investors from the Muslim countries, mainly oil and gas-rich countries,” said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.
Speaking at a press conference after officiating the MuslimBIG 2010 Business and Investment Gala here Thursday, he said OIC member countries were now reducing their participation in economic activities in developed nations and looking at developing countries.
“So, we have seen some good indicators that they are willing to invest in other Muslim countries. This is about time but unfortunately we have to wait for global economic recovery before that happens,” said Mukhriz.
The MuslimBIG 2010, which will be held for the first time in Malaysia between June 4 and June 6, 2010, will be a ground-breaking event for the global Islamic business community to meet, interact and transact business.
To date, total trade among Islamic countries stood at a staggering US$2 trillion with the European Union, the United States and China controlling 84 per cent of the volume while Muslim nations controlled a meagre 16 per cent.
Stressing that the global halal market potential was about US$7 trillion, Mukhriz said intra-trade among OIC countries cannot be ignored, adding that it has always been Malaysia’s policy to look at trading with lesser known economies such as Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
“Speculative investments such as in housing mortgages in the United States, created the economic crisis. That has brought a lot of attention to syariah-compliant economic activities and financial activities.
“We are hoping to see more trade and investment as well as other business activities coming out from that,” Mukhriz said.
He said other economies, such as the Commonwealth of Independent States, which are not well-known, were developing and rich in natural resources and may be keen to trade with Malaysia.
“This is something we should exploit because the potential is great,” he added.
Asked on the impact to the economy, Mukhriz said: “There is a compounding effect and the growth is quite substantial. Unfortunately, I am not able to give exact figures because it is very relative.”
Mukhriz said one trade barrier among Muslim countries was the technology and innovation which in the West, provided good investment returns.
“There has been new and innovative technologies coming out from Malaysia, Pakistan and other Muslim countries, but it is very competitive. It is tough to convince, even among Muslim investors, to invest in Muslim-based technology,” he explained.
Asked on Budget 2010, Mukhriz said incentives to attract foreign direct investments into Malaysia would be among the highlights of the budget in order to sustain the country’s business environment.
“I will not be able to say what specific incentives the Prime Minister will announce tomorrow. Let’s wait and see.
“But, what’s for sure is, besides balancing both foreign direct investments and domestic investments, it is also important that the domestic sector must be developed internationally.
Mukhriz also said Malaysia should emulate South Korea, Japan and Taiwan in developing their domestic economies rather than being over dependent on international trade to spur economic growth.