On Thursday, 27 July 2023, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. together with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual attended a series of meetings with Malaysian businesses, which forms part of the President’s State Visit to Malaysia.
The Philippines and Malaysia have a longstanding bilateral relationship and have been trade and business partners for years. In 2022, Malaysia was held as the Philippines’ 10th major trading partner and 11th export market.
Further, FDI net inflows from Malaysia in 2022 showed a massive increase of 505% as compared to the total investment value in 2021. This reflected a 17.8% share of the total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows from ASEAN and one of the Philippines’ major source of approved foreign investments in the region.
During the one-on-one business meetings, five (5) Malaysian companies signed Letters of Intent (LOIs), a testament to the increasing trust and confidence of foreign companies toward the Philippines’ improved business environment, which was boosted by the recent economic policy reforms of the Marcos Jr. administration.
One of the five companies is Malaysian dairy company Farm Fresh Berhad, which expressed its interest to expand in the Philippines through cattle breeding intended for milk production. This investment costs USD 20 million and is set to commence its operations by 2028 with an estimated employment of 200 local workforce. Further, the company has an ongoing construction of 6,000 sqm dairy processing facility in Pampanga and a lease of 200 to 400 hectares of contiguous farmland intended to raise 2,000 milking cows.
DTI Secretary Fred Pascual said, “We are optimistic that these signed LOIs will materialize in the coming months. It is important to understand, however, that investments are typically long-term commitments rather than immediate action. These often require careful study, planning, and legal processes before they can materialize. We at the DTI remain committed to assisting them in pursuing their investment plans.”
“These investments are related to food processing, multi-service digital platforms, aviation, aviation maintenance support service, logistics, manufacturing, infrastructure, and water and wastewater treatment. We expect that these will greatly contribute to our pursuit of economic recovery and expansion in the form of 8,365 estimated jobs to be created,” Secretary Pascual added.
Further, the trade and industry chief joined the roundtable meeting with members of the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and the CEOs of the companies who recently signed LOIs. During the RTM, he conveyed appreciation toward Malaysian businesses for its sustained interest and confidence in the Philippines and informed them of the investment opportunities available in the Philippines for them to take advantage of.
He likewise said, “With strong partnerships, I see many opportunities for Malaysia and the Philippines to further strengthen our ties in trade and investment. This roundtable meeting is a significant platform to guide our partnership going forward.”
Overall, the three-day State Visit of President Marcos Jr. in Malaysia was able to generate a total of USD 285 million investment pledges from Malaysian businesses.
Also present during the RTM were Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Charles C. Jose, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Senator Mark Villar, DOE Undersecretary Felix Fuentebella, DTI Assistant Secretary Glenn Peñaranda, and representatives from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).