Philippines, Malaysia to boost cooperation on trade, security PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 March 2014 14:17

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia —  Trade and security relations between the Philippines and Malaysia may improve after the state visit of President Benigno Aquino III to Malaysia.

In a press statement following his meeting with President Aquino, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak said the two countries could further improve trade and investment relations.

Najib said that while their bilateral trade is worth $4.5 billion, there is “far greater” potential given the size of the Philippines. “Both our governments agree that we should encourage the increase in value and volume of bilateral trade,” he said. “President Aquino has brought a team of businessmen with him.”

The Malaysian leader said he believes that after the President’s meeting with the Malaysian business community which is scheduled Friday afternoon, the two nations could improve their bilateral trade.

Also discussed during his bilateral meeting with President Aquino was the matter of Islamic banking and finance, particularly about the possibility of Malaysian companies participating in Islamic banking in the Philippines.

Prime Minister Razak also expressed his country’s readiness to train Filipinos in the field of Islamic banking and finance in Malaysia. There is also a huge potential in terms of export products to be promoted between the two countries, Razak added.

Aside from trade cooperation both leaders also discussed security matters, underscoring the necessity of having closer cooperation between their security forces, the military and the police.

Razak said he stressed during his meeting with President Aquino the importance of timely exchange of intelligence as well as ensuring high degree of deterrent.

The Philippines and Malaysia is also looking at the possibility of establishing a hotline between their security forces to immediately respond to any security incident or threat.

“We need to ensure immediate interdiction on our Malaysian side as well as the Philippine side, so that is a very important facet. Once we have peace and security, then trade and investment will flow in the southern Philippines as well as in Sabah,” Razak said.

The Philippines and Malaysia reviewed the aspects of their defense relations, particularly on training and education exchanges between their armed forces and defense officials. The two countries are also looking at continued joint training activities and intelligence exchanges between them.