24 Julai, 2009 22:18 PM
Potential High For Expanding Canada-Malaysia Relations

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 (Bernama) -- Bilateral relations between Malaysia and Canada could be further expanded through a three-pronged approach involving trade, education and tourism, says Canada's Minister of International Trade, Stockwell Day.

Day, who was on a day trip to Malaysia Thursday, said Malaysia and Canada currently had an excellent relationship, which has brought significant benefits to both countries.

Speaking to a selected media, Day, who is also Canada's Minister for Asia-Pacific Gateway, said in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), Canadian investors injected C$1.12 billion or RM3.6 billion into Malaysia last year.

This was an increase of 25.3 percent from a year earlier, while Malaysian businessmen invested C$68 million in the North American country, a 27.7 percent decline.

He said, traditionally, Canadian companies in Malaysia were involved in manufacturing and infrastructure development such as hydropower generation, oil and gas, telecommunications and transportation.

On the three-pronged approach, he said education had been an attraction with many Malaysian students studying at Canadian universities.

As for tourism, Day said, the industry could be an important interpolator for both countries to further expand bilateral relations.

For instance, Canada's Pacific Coast makes travel between the two countries quite simple while many Canadians found Malaysia quite appealing as a vacation destination.

On the possibility of a Malaysia-Canada Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Day said, existing trade relations between Malaysia and Canada may offer a conducive environment to discuss the possibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) between both nations.

While in Kuala Lumpur, which was his first visit to the city, Day had met International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

He had attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Singapore earlier.

Malaysia is Canada's largest trading partner within Asean. Its exports to Malaysia in 2008 grew 41.1 percent to C$834.5 million, comprising mainly fertilizers, cereals and electrical equipment.

Malaysian exports to Canada grew 0.3 percent to C$2.9 billion, and these included electronic equipment, machinery and furniture.

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