KUCHING: Total trade between Malaysia and the Indian Ocean Rim Association of Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) member countries, home to around two billion people, has continued to expand particularly over the last 15 years, said Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Datuk Richard Riot.
Riot, who represented Malaysia at the 12th IOR-ARC meeting held in Gurgaon, Delhi recently, said the total trade for 2011 increased by about 13 per cent to US$133.7 billion over the previous year, contributing to about 32 per cent of the country’s total external trade.
“The IOR-ARC meeting on Nov 2, which was held in an environment marked by warmth, cordiality and openness, saw Comoros being admitted as its 20th member state and the United States accepted as its sixth dialogue partner,” he said in a statement emailed to Bernama here yesterday.
The other five dialogue partners are China, Egypt, France, Japan and the United Kingdom.
He said the Council of Ministers Meeting (COM) was preceded by five other meetings of the Working Groups and Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) including the Indian Ocean Rim Academic Group (IORAG), Working Group on Trade and Investment (WGTI) and Business Forum (IORBF).
On the sidelines of the IOR-ARC Council of Ministers Meeting, Riot had a bilateral meeting with the Foreign Minister of Yemen, Dr Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi.
Malaysia is a founding member of IOR-ARC, an association set up in 1997 to promote economic co-operation and intra-regional trade among Indian Ocean Coastal and Island States.
At the end of the 12th Council of Ministers Meeting, the Gurgaon Communique was adopted.
The 13th meeting will be hosted by Australia. — Bernama