Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, Y.B. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, visited South Korea on 17th – 22nd July in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations. The opportunity of the visit was also taken for a trade and investment mission, in the context of which the Malaysian delegation, including government officials and private sector representatives, met with their respective Korean counterparts in the cities of Seoul and Busan.
Trade flows between the two countries have grown steadily over the last years, the only exception being 2009, when overall bilateral trade figures decreased almost 18%. However, even with this setback, South Korea continued to be Malaysia´s 6th most important trading partner in 2009, reaching overall bilateral trade figures of around US$ 11.7 billion.
An inter-annual trade increase of around 35.2% has been recorded in the first five months of 2010, which represents a full recovery of pre-crisis levels and shows a tendency towards further expansion of trade relations. Malaysian exports to South Korea grew 16.9% during those five months, reaching a value of US$3.2 billion, while Korean exports to Malaysia grew almost 58.8%, reaching US3.4 billion.
Throughout the international economic crisis Korea remained one of Malaysia’s main investors. Total Korean FDI (foreign direct investment) in Malaysia since 1980 is estimated at US$ 2.62 billion.
According to Malaysia´s Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the aim of the mission is to foster stronger bilateral relations through the creation of new trade opportunities and improved investment conditions for Korean FDI in Malaysia. The mission updated Korean investors on new investment prospects and the impact of the country’s New Economic Model.