Zhengzhou train loaded with agricultural products to ASEAN, June 26, 2023. /CFP
Chinese Premier Li Qiang, on Sunday, met with Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Nanning, the capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Li expressed China's willingness to enhance the synergy of Malaysia's development strategies with its own, and to continue working together to build a high-quality Belt and Road and the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Anwar said that Malaysia is willing to further exchanges with China at all levels and strengthen cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, digital economy and green development. He said Malaysia stands ready to enhance exchanges and mutual learning between the two nations, while also strengthening coordination and cooperation on international and regional affairs.
China's trade with Belt and Road countries has grown steadily in recent years. In the first half of 2023, China's import and export volume with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative was $1,010.67 billion, up 3.13 percent year-on-year, accounting for 34.37 percent of China's total import and export volume. Among these countries, Malaysia ranked third with an import and export volume of $93.03 billion.
Lv Daliang, a spokesperson for the General Administration of Customs said, in the first half of this year, China imported agricultural products worth 125.08 billion yuan from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, a growth of 7.5 percent, which is 6.4 percentage points higher than the overall growth rate of imports from ASEAN countries.
Among all imports, the imports of palm oil from ASEAN nations saw a substantial increase of 120.5 percent, totaling 10.91 billion yuan, with Malaysia being one of the key global producers.
On September 16, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, Ma Youxiang, met with Malaysia's Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Chan Foong Hin.
Ma Youxiang stated that the China-Malaysia agricultural cooperation mechanism is robust, and trade in agricultural products has been growing rapidly. He added that agricultural investment cooperation has yielded tangible benefits for industry development and income growth.
Chan Foong Hin highly praised the effectiveness of agricultural cooperation between Malaysia and China and expressed willingness to further enhance bilateral agricultural relations through the implementation of practical projects.
Agriculture has played a pivotal role in economic development and global trade for centuries. China and Malaysia have recognized the mutual benefits of collaborating in this sector. Over the years, both countries have established strong agricultural economic and trade cooperation, contributing to food security, technological exchange, and economic growth.