KUALA LUMPUR, 18 September: The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) will leverage on its participation in the 9th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) 2012 to draw more investments into the East Coast Economic Region of Malaysia (ECER), especially from China and ASEAN countries.

Organised by the Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM), CAEXPO 2102 will take place from September 21 to 25 at the Nanning International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

It will contain highlights such as the 9th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, CAEXPO Roundtable Meeting on Investment Cooperation, promotional conference on industrial parks in ASEAN and a forum on investment promotion in Malaysia.

ECERDC Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Jebasingam Issace John said CAEXPO 2012 will be an ideal platform to promote ECER among international investors, especially from China and the ASEAN region.

“Over the past eight years, the CAEXPO has played a key role in promoting investment cooperation between China and ASEAN member countries. We aim to use this platform to attract more investors from all around the world to come to ECER, especially those from China and the ASEAN countries,” said Dato’ Issace.

ECERDC’s main focus for CAEXPO 2012 will be the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park (MCKIP), whose establishment was originally proposed by the Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during the official launch of the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park earlier in April.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has expressed his support to the proposal and since then, remarkable progress has already been made with regards to the MCKIP development.

Located in Kuantan within the ECER Special Economic Zone, the 607-hectare MCKIP will help enhance bilateral trade between Malaysia and China. The ground breaking for MCKIP is expected to take place by end of this year.

“MCKIP is unique because it is the first industrial park in Malaysia to be developed jointly by both countries and the first bilateral project in Malaysia that will be accorded national-level status,” said Dato’ Issace.

To promote MCKIP at CAEXPO 2012, ECERDC’s delegation also includes senior officials from the State Government of Pahang.

“The Pahang State Government under the directive of the Menteri Besar has already set up a task force in the State Secretary’s office to fast track the implementation of MCKIP,” Dato’ Issace said.

“At the Federal level, the Ministry of International Trade (MITI) together with ECERDC is working on a special incentives package for investors in MCKIP, in addition to the current ECER incentives package already available to investors,” he noted.

Several target industries have already been identified for MCKIP namely, plastic and metal equipment industries, automotive components, fibre cement board, stainless steel products, carbon fibre, electric and electronics, information communication technology (ICT) and renewable energy.

In addition to MCKIP, ECERDC will also be promoting other key ECER projects at CAEXPO 2012 such as the Gambang Halal Park, Pekan Automotive Park, Kertih BioPolymer Park and Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC), among others.

Since the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area came into effect on January 1, 2010, China and ASEAN have seen its trade and economic relations reaching new high and bilateral investment cooperation moving into a fast-growing period. By the end of May 2012, the total volume of two-way investment exceeded US$90 billion, while bilateral trade in the first 5 months of this year recorded a 9.2% year-on-year growth, according to MOFCOM.

ECER already has a proven track record in attracting Chinese investors. Last year, Eastern Steel Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between China Shougang Group and Malaysia’s Hiap Teck Venture Berhad, announced its commitment to invest RM1.8 billion to build an integrated steel mill in the Kemaman Heavy Industrial Park in Terengganu.

Blessed with abundant natural resources and a strategic location facing the South China Sea, that are also supported by good infrastructure and attractive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, ECER serves as the ideal gateway for investors who are keep to tap into the ASEAN and Asia Pacific markets, which have a combined population of around 4 billion and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$17 trillion.

ECER has attracted some RM32.7 billion worth of investments from 2007 to June 2012, of which RM12 billion was recorded in the first half of 2012.