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Malaysia Enhancing High-tech Trade Relations with South Korea

From 14 to 17 March 2023, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) conducted a Trade and Investment Mission in Seoul, Republic of Korea (South Korea) with the goal of enhancing economic ties between Malaysia and South Korea. The mission was headed by the Minister of MITI.

MITI’s Trade and Investment Mission is part of its ongoing initiative to showcase Malaysia as the preferred investment destination for Korean enterprises, while also promoting Malaysian goods and services in the Korean market. The mission specifically targeted high-technology and high-value sectors such as smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), digitalisation, and renewable energy.

In addition to the Minister of MITI, the official delegation will consist of senior officials from the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), as well as representatives from state Investment Promotion Agencies, regional development corridors, and Malaysian companies.

As part of the mission, the MITI Minister held a bilateral meeting with the Republic of Korea’s Minister for Trade, from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), to engage in discussions about bilateral matters, regional economic cooperation, and strategies to enhance collaboration in addressing emerging global issues that align with both nations’ interests.

During the mission, MITI hosted a seminar on business opportunities in Malaysia. The ROK audience was updated on Malaysia’s trade and investment climate, as well as the facilitation provided by the Government of Malaysia to Korean companies interested in investing in Malaysia.

Korean companies also shared their experiences of doing business in Malaysia, and targeted business meetings were held with prominent Korean companies that expressed interest in expanding their business in Malaysia. Furthermore, business matching sessions were organized between potential Korean investors and importers with relevant state Investment Promotion Agencies, regional development corridors, as well as Malaysian businesses and exporters.

In 2022, the Republic of Korea ranked as Malaysia’s eighth-largest trading partner, with a total trade value of RM114.55 billion (US$26.01 billion), marking a 29.7% increase compared to RM88.31 billion (US$21.01 billion) in 2021. Malaysia’s primary exports to South Korea in 2022 consisted of electrical and electronic (E&E) products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), petroleum products, and manufactured metal, iron, and steel products. Meanwhile, Malaysia’s main imports from the Republic of Korea in 2022 included petroleum products, E&E products, chemical and chemical products, machinery, equipment and parts, as well as iron and steel products.

Regarding investment, the Republic of Korea has been one of Malaysia’s primary sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the manufacturing sector. By June 2022, Malaysia had received a total of 374 implemented projects worth RM32.9 billion (US$ 9.2 billion), creating 46,260 employment opportunities.

The Malaysian government launched the Industry4WRD: National Policy on Industry 4.0 on 31 October 2018 in response to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The policy aims to facilitate the digital transformation of Malaysia’s manufacturing and related services sectors.

The implementation of Industry4WRD is aimed at creating a conducive ecosystem to support the manufacturing and related services sectors in Malaysia through incentives, infrastructure, human capital development, and technology facilities.

The National Policy on Industry 4.0 has three objectives:

  • Attract stakeholders to Industry 4.0 technologies and processes to enhance Malaysia’s appeal as a preferred manufacturing location
  • Create a suitable ecosystem for Industry 4.0 adoption, and
  • Transform Malaysia’s industry capabilities in a comprehensive manner


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