Malaysia is looking forward to new and expanding investments from Italy, with a particular focus on new potential areas of growth such as machinery, automation, aerospace, green technology, food production, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and other high technology industries, as well as digital investments.
Minister in the prime minister Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia recorded a significant 21.7 per cent growth in total trade with Italy last year while during the first four months of 2022, the figure increased by almost 30 per cent year-on-year to about $1.5 billion (RM6.63 billion).
“Malaysia would like to see more Italian investments in our country and in the region. There is no reason why Italy should stop at being only the third largest European Union trading partner in Malaysia.
“Malaysia is, of course, proud to be home to a number of Italian investments. As of December last year, a total of 75 manufacturing projects with Italian participation (valued at $363.8 million) have been implemented across the country. This has created 4,320 job opportunities for locals here at home,” he said in his keynote address at the High-Level Dialogue on Asean-Italy Economic Relations 2022 here today.
Mustapa said Italian investments are generally perceived in Malaysia to signify quality investments that create quality jobs for locals.
This, he said, is due to Italy’s reputation as being home to a number of world renowned multinational corporations as well as being a major exporter of luxury goods.
“For example, Italian companies in the fashion industry including Prada, Gucci, and Salvatore Ferragamo to name just a few are household names, especially among the affluent in Southeast Asia, as well as among our burgeoning middle class.
“Besides that, Italian cultural exports, such as art, music, and football, have only served to further solidify the good reputation that you (Italy) enjoy in our part of the world,” he said.
The minister noted that Malaysia has also made a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, to promote environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments and to strive towards becoming a more circular economy.
“Of course, I believe we can learn a lot from our Italian friends on this. I note that in February this year, the Italian government amended its constitution to explicitly include protecting the environment as a fundamental principle,” he added.
The one-day dialogue is organised by The European House in collaboration with the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and Italian Trade Agency.
The dialogue is the reference event in the Asean region for strengthening economic and strategic ties between Asean member countries and Italy.