IPOH: The Prime Minister’s promise to invest in the United States is instrumental in Malaysia’s bid to rectify the trade imbalance between both countries, says Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
The International Trade and Industry Minister II said it was only logical and diplomatically correct for Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to propose investments in the US to maintain a close trade relationship.
“As we all know, President Donald Trump is very concerned about US trade deficits with many other countries, including with Malaysia.
Ong said that Trump has recently threatened to end the free trade agreement with South Korea.
“This is something we do not want to happen with us if things go awry,” he told a press conference here on Sunday.
It was reported that Trump had signed an executive order that would launch a 90-day investigation of countries against whom the US runs a bilateral trade deficit.
Malaysia is included in the list, with a reported US$24bil (RM100.5bil) trade surplus over the US.
During the bilateral meeting with Trump on Tuesday, Najib said he intended to increase the number of Boeing planes to be purchased by Malaysia Airlines and increase Employees Provident Fund investments in the US.
“The US is a big trading partner of Malaysia. If the Prime Minister had not done something to address President Trump’s major concerns about the trade deficits, something drastic could happen,” said Ong.
Now that talks between Trump and Najib are successful, Ong said that the trade relationship with the US can be expected to carry on as usual.
“Our trade has been showing a more vibrant trend so far this year. Hopefully, 2018 would be the year for our economy to recover,” he said.