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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   18 February 2012

UK Trade Minister bullish on Asean

SINGAPORE, Feb 17, 2012

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's Economic Transformation Programme offers huge opportunities for UK firms to share their expertise and work with Malaysia on important commercial projects, including the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit.

In stating this, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, said combined with Malaysia's continued strong economic growth, "we see major opportunities across a wide range of sectors -- education, oil and gas, infrastructure, healthcare, information, communications technology, retail, financial and professional services and defence and security."

He said the UK has strong trade and investment ties with Malaysia which it was determined to further strengthen.

Lord Green was here from Feb 14-15, 2012 to promote UK trade and investment and aerospace at the Singapore Airshow and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore before visiting Malaysia yesterday, as part of his tour of the region which also Thailand.

He said many UK firms had presence in Malaysia, including well-known brands such as Dyson, Tesco and Shell.

On the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean), he said the region's growing importance to UK business was reflected in his ministry's new five-year strategy, "Britain Open for Business".

"I will be visiting three of the five Asean countries identified as priority high growth and emerging markets (Singapore, Malaysian and Thailand)," he said.

Lord Green said the European Union was currently negotiating free trade agreements with Singapore and Malaysia.

"We look forward to the successful conclusion of these talks which will unlock many new opportunities for both UK and Asean businesses," he said.

He was positive about growth prospects in Asean and Malaysia in particular.

"There is no doubt the region is becoming an increasingly important player in the global economy.

"Robust domestic demand and improving macroeconomic fundamentals will also continue to support economic growth.

"Malaysia is UK's second largest export market in South-East Asia and we want to build on this," he said.

Lord Green said there were signs that the UK's economic outlook was improving.

"This year, the International Monetary Fund forecasts the UK to grow twice as fast as Germany and three times as fast as France," he said.

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