Wednesday, June 26

Malaysia-Sudan trade set to rise


Datuk Mohd Ashri Muda

KHARTOUM, Sudan: Two-way trade between Malaysia and Sudan is expected to rise with Malaysian firms increasingly keen to invest in various sectors of the republic’s economy despite trade and investment sanctions imposed by the US.

Malaysian Ambassador to Sudan Datuk Mohd Ashri Muda said although relations between the two countries are good, two-way trade is still small at US$90 million.

“We export more of our products to Sudan, including electrical and elektronics goods, chemicals and machinery, while Sudan’s exports to Malaysia comprise chemicals, petroleum products and gum arabic,” he told Malaysian journalists after attending the Malaysia-Sudan Trade and Investment Forum which began on Thursday and ends today.

He said such forums could enhance bilateral ties and expand business opportunities for companies from both countries. Several memorandums of understanding were signed at the forum between  Malaysian and Sudanese firms, including in education, halal meat and gum arabic.

Sudan, with a population of 33 million, has enormous potential for Malaysian companies as it is a member of the Arab free trade zone and Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

It is also a gateway to land-locked countries such as Chad, Central Africa, Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Mohd Ashri said among Malaysian companies, only Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) has a significant investment in the republic.

There are about 300 Malaysians in Sudan, mostly in Khartoum and comprising  Petronas officials and their families.

There are also 26 Malaysian students, all privately funded, in the country.

Mohd Ashri said Malaysia is a popular tourism and honeymoon destination for Sudanese, and last year some 13,000 Sudanese visited Malaysia last year.

On Sudan’s security, he said the country is very safe to visit.

“For me, Sudan is one country that desires peace.

We see their sacrifice in letting go part of their territory in order to achieve peace.

The safety situation in Khartoum is also better than cities in Europe.

“So we feel that the action by certain quarters in bombing Sudan is very regrettable, and we hope this matter is not repeated by certain quarters,” he said.

On October 23, a weapons factory in southern Khartoum was bombed, killing two persons. — Bernama