Malaysia is likely to benefit from the trade war between China and the United States in terms of attracting foreign investors, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
Mahathir said policies implemented in this trade war would benefit investors who could not invest in certain countries, thus benefiting countries that were not involved.
“We (Malaysia) are not involved (in this trade war), and there is a possibility they (investors) who cannot go to certain countries, they will come here (Malaysia),” he said in a media conference in Langkawi.
The trade war between the two major countries accelerated on Wednesday when the US administration increased pressure on China for trade concessions by recommending a 25 percent higher tariff on China’s imports valued at US$200 billion.
Asked if Malaysia was ready to face the overwhelming influx of foreign investors following the trade war, Mahathir said: “(For) foreign investment, we are always ready.”
'Malaysia very concerned'
Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said, however, that Malaysia is "very concerned" about the repercussions from the ongoing trade war.
Saifuddin said the country's concerns were brought up in his meeting with US State Secretary Mike Pompeo (photo) on Friday.
“I have a very good meeting with the US state secretary. We reiterated the sentiment in the region. I informed him many people in this region, especially Malaysia, as a small country, are quite nervous about the repercussions of the ongoing trade war.
“We are currently facing a real threat. Real threat in the name of trade war. The threat is making many countries very concerned,” he told a press conference on the sidelines of the last day of the 51st Asean Ministerial Meeting in Singapore today.
Malaysia is the country coordinator for the Asean-US Dialogue Relations for the term 2015-2018.
Saifuddin added that the threat is becoming more complex as it intertwined with geopolitical issues and is relevant to the South China Sea.
“The South China Sea is supposed to be a place for people to do trade. Of course, our concern is that some activities in the region may cause tension.”