KUALA LUMPUR: Following the successful trade and investment mission to the Republic of South Korea and Japan in April 2021, International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali led another trade mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently.
The mission which started from April 26 to May 4 aimed to further enhance the bilateral cooperation between Malaysia – Saudi Arabia and Malaysia – UAE in a more comprehensive and strategic direction as well as to rebuild the confidence among the business community by demonstrating government’s commitment and pro-business in the recovery state.
The mission is also a follow up to the official visit of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to both countries in March this year.
Considering the importance of bilateral trade between both countries, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) had arranged series of business meetings with prominent Saudi and United Arab Emirates companies during the mission.
Among the focus sectors were healthcare services, facility management, medical devices, furniture, palm oil, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and lifestyle products.
One of the major importers of Malaysia’s palm oil in KSA, Savola Group, is committed to increase their sourcing of palm oil from Malaysia. The Group aimed at making KSA as their distribution hub for other parts of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets. The intention is in line with the discussion during the Prime Minister’s visit in March this year that is to expand markets for the exports of Malaysian palm oil into the region.
Savola is also one of the largest operator for grocery store chain in Saudi Arabia and had just launched e-commerce marketplace called Pandaclick last year, which contributed to the booming of the e-commerce sector in Saudi Arabia.
To further facilitate the strong interest shown by Savola Group, Matrade extended an invitation to them to visit Malaysia, particularly during the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (Mihas) to be held from Sept 9 to Sept 12.
Matrade also committed to organise a special sourcing programme for Savola Group.
Makkah Healthcare Cluster (MHC), an administrator of a medical city, nine public hospitals and 82 public health centres in the City of Makkah is willing to explore the possibilities to work closely with Malaysian healthcare provider or hospital operator to jointly develop the Makkah Healthcare Cardiac Institute, Makkah Healthcare Oncology Institute as well as a nursing school in Makkah. They also plan to work with Malaysian suppliers of medical products and services for their facilities.
Additionally, Mohamed Azmin had also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Business Exploration (MOBE) between UEM Edgenta Bhd, a subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd, and ASMA Advanced Solutions LLC, a Saudi company specialising in water systems management. The MOBE indicates the intention of UEM to seriously position the company to capture healthcare support services and integrated facility management markets in KSA.
In UAE, meetings with retail conglomerates Landmark Group and Lulu Group which resulted in commitment from both companies to increase their sourcing and broadening the range of products from Malaysia. Both companies are also planning to use Malaysia as their sourcing and distribution hub in Asean.
Moving forward, Matrade will organise specialised sourcing programmes for the companies targeting dedicated sectors including lifestyle, premium quality furniture and high-tech household products and appliances and fast moving consumer goods.