The Republic of Korea (ROK) stands as the eighth largest trading partner for Malaysia with total trade amounting to RM114.55 billion (USD26.01 billion), in 2022 which represents an increase of 29.7% compared to RM88.31 billion (USD21.01 billion) in 2021.
Malaysia’s major exports to South Korea in 2022 were E&E products, LNG, petroleum products, manufactures of metal, iron and steel products; while Malaysia’s major imports from ROK in 2022 were petroleum products, E&E products, chemical and chemical products, machinery, equipment and parts, as well as iron and steel products.
In terms of investment, the ROK has been one of Malaysia’s top sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) for the manufacturing sector. As of June 2022, a total of 374 projects worth USD9.2 billion (RM32.9 billion) have been implemented, generating 46,260 jobs.
Most of these investments were in chemical and chemical products, electrical and electronics, petroleum products, basic metal products, non-metallic mineral products and iron and steel products.
In efforts to enhance the bilateral relationship and economic ties between the two nations the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) will embark on a Trade and Investment Mission to Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK) from March 14 to 17.
The Mission will be led by MITI Minister Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Aziz, who said: “The Mission is part of MITI’s continuous effort to promote Malaysia as the investment destination of choice to Korean businesses, as well as Malaysian products and services to the Korean market. The Mission’s focus is on high technology and high value-added sectors such as smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), digitalisation and renewable energy.
The official delegation will also comprise senior officials from MITI, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), as well as representatives from the state Investment Promotion Agencies, regional development corridors and Malaysian companies.
During the Mission, the Minister will have a bilateral meeting with H.E. Dukgeun Ahn, ROK’s Minister for Trade, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) to discuss bilateral issues, regional economic cooperation, as well as measures to strengthen collaboration in addressing emerging global issues for mutual interest, Tengku Zafrul said at Opening Ceremony of the 40th Anniversary of Look East Policy (LEP) between Malaysia and Korea held in Kuala Lumpur today (March 13).
Malaysia aims to increase its trade with South Korea by 20 per cent this year and a means to achieve the target is to continue the engagement and discussions with giant South Korean companies, namely Samsung, Hyundai, Coway, and Lotte during the visit.
The 40th Anniversary of the LEP manifests the special friendship between the two countries. Leveraging our shared aspirations towards the future, particularly our ESG agenda premised on enablers such as the digital economy, green technology, and robotics, Malaysia looks forward to further reinforce and harness the synergies of both countries in addressing emerging global issues for mutual benefits, said Tengku Zafrul during the event.
Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Malaysia H.E. Yeo Sheung-Bae, at the event, said the cooperation under the LEP — which began in 1983 — has seen over 5,000 Malaysian civil servants and students being trained in Korea and currently, there are 847 Malaysians studying in the country.
“The LEP itself has also evolved from LEP 1.0 focusing on human capacity development to the industrial cooperation-centered LEP 2.0 with the bilateral collaboration having grown at a level that could not have been imagined 40 years ago. The people-to-people exchanges have increased from about 25,000 annually in the early 1980s to over 1 million in 2019. The two-way annual trade volume reached US$26 billion last year after breaking the 20 billion mark for the first time in 2021.
“Over 350 Korean companies are operating in Malaysia, ramping up investment in the new growth areas such as EV batteries, green hydrogen,carbon capture and storage, and renewable energy,” said H.E. Yeo.
The Ambassador added to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the LEP this year, we plan to strengthen economic cooperation, revitalize high-levei government exchanges and organise many programs that can help to deepen the mutual understanding and bond between our two nations. “We also believe that these events will serve as excellent platforms to take stock of on-going progress and explore ways to further enhance cooperation for the next 40 years.”
During the mission, MITI will also host a Seminar on Business Opportunities in Malaysia, where the ROK audience will be updated on Malaysia’s trade and investment climate as well as facilitation provided by the Government of Malaysia to Korean companies planning to invest in Malaysia. There will also be sharing sessions by Korean companies of their experience of doing business in Malaysia, as well as targeted business meetings with prominent Korean companies that have expressed interest to invest and expand their business in Malaysia.
Additionally, there will be business matching sessions between potential Korean investors and importer with the relevant state Investment Promotion Agencies, regional development corridors as well as Malaysian businesses and exporters.