September 28, 2020

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Malaysia and Turkey to boost tech trade

Malaysia and Turkey are targeting RM20.87 billion of annual trade by 2025, as the two nations seek to deepen economic ties in various sectors.

Leaders of the two countries have already engaged in discussions to boost trade in defence, an area which has seen rapid growth for over a decade in Turkey, following the Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit to Ankara earlier in July.

In his recent official visit, the PM stated that Turkey is willing to grant Malaysia access to its defence technology and high-tech capabilities after a visit to the Turkish Aerospace Industries in Ankara.

The Malaysian PM and the Turkish President are expected to meet again on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month to discuss potential deals but did not reveal specifics.

When looking at collaboration in any sector, the aim is to create a win-win situation from production of technology to transfer of technology and know-how, creating jobs and moving towards self-reliance and sovereign development.

Malaysia has long sought to boost its defence capabilities, but the cost has been one of the main hindrances. Turkey is one of the world’s biggest exporters of defence equipment and is among only four countries in the world with the capacity to develop fifth-generation fighter jets.

To replace Malaysia’s military equipment, most of which have been in service for over 35 years, the country’s Defence Minister mooted the notion of using palm oil to help pay for new purchases, noting that other means of trade will be determined.

In 2018, the total trade between Malaysia and Turkey stood at US$2.38 billion, driven mainly by Malaysian exports of vegetable oils, aluminium, electrical machinery and rubber to Turkey. To compare, Malaysia’s total trade volume in 2018 was US$455 billion.

In an earlier report by OpenGov Aisa, it was noted that Turkey has expressed its willingness to grant Malaysia access to its defence technology, a privilege rarely accorded to any company or country, according to the Malaysian Prime Minister.

The PM stated that while companies that possessed high-tech capabilities were usually protective of what they have, Turkey was willing to hire Malaysian engineers in various fields.

It was noted that this is an opportunity afforded to the nation that must be made the most of. Turkey will help Malaysia to achieve advancements in the fields of aviation and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology.

Malaysia seeks to boost its trade with Turkey. However, cooperation in defence is also very important, the PM told reporters on the final day of his official visit to the country.

The Malaysian leader, on his four-day visit, along with the Malaysian Foreign Minister and the Foreign Ministry Secretary-General, spent time reviewing combat and drone helicopter industries at Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in Ankara. The visit was described as meaningful to Malaysia.

Moreover, Turkey has extended its cooperation to the nation in a number of fields. The opportunity to meet Turkish captains of industry has also opened new doors for Malaysia to boost investment.

During his visit, the Malaysian PM attended a number of comprehensive programmes organised by the Turkish government displaying their military capabilities.

It is important to note that Malaysia has adopted a neutral stance in their its military approach and is not obliged to acquire military assets, unlike Turkey which is a member of NATO.