Najib and Xi lay groundwork to strengthen trade and economic growth

Najib and Xi lay groundwork to strengthen trade and economic growth

PETALING JAYA - With President Xi Jinping's successful state visit here, China and Malaysia have officially entered a new chapter that will heighten the already strong bilateral ties.

Xi has affirmed Malaysia's importance as a trustworthy ally by saying: "Our two countries have proven to be good neighbours, good friends and good partners who go through thick and thin together."

During his hectic three days here, Xi and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak laid down the groundwork for what is poised to strengthen trade cooperation and boost economic growth of both countries in the next five years.

This includes a pledge to boost bilateral trade volume to an astounding US$160 billion (S$199 billion) by the end of 2017, while the volume was US$94.8 billion last year.

With the five-year economic and trade cooperation plan which focuses on agricultural, telecommunications and infrastructure development, it is apt that Xi described the opportunities available as "shi bu zai lai" (a chance that will not come again).

They had also urged businesses from both sides to utilise the convenience of settlement of trade transactions in the renminbi and ringgit, which has already been available since 2009.

All eyes are also on both the China-Malaysia Qinzhou and Malaysia-China Kuantan industrial parks which have secured six projects worth US$850 million and a project worth US$1.1 billion to date.

The Xiamen University Malaysia Campus is also being set up in Salak Tinggi near Sepang in Selangor.

To be completed in 2015, it will see 10,000 students pursuing their tertiary education there. Malaysians are expected to make up a third of the student population.

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