Malaysia is committed to bring a government and business delegation, including Khazanah Nasional Bhd, to Palestine to explore potential collaborations in Islamic finance, agriculture and renewable energy.
In a statement issued late yesterday, International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking said the Malaysian government views enhancing bilateral trade and investment ties with the State of Palestine as a priority.
The minister had a sideline meeting with Palestinian Minister of National Economy Dr Abeer Odeh and Bank of Palestine chairman Hashim Shawa on Tuesday during the World Economic Forum 2019 in Davos, Switzerland.
The objective was to follow-up on the meeting between the Palestine government with Khazanah. The Malaysian sovereign wealth fund serves as the Palestine Investment Fund’s investment arm in global and regional capital markets.
The International Trade and Industry Ministry also said Palestine expressed deep appreciation for Malaysia's continuous political and economic support. Malaysian leaders have been extended an invitation to visit Palestine.
To increase bilateral trade engagement with Malaysia, Palestine has proposed a memorandum of understanding with a focus on cooperation in the areas of goods, services, investment, energy, information and communications technology (ICT), healthcare and tourism.
Palestine also proposed setting up a linkage between travel agents from both countries in providing packages for pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
On investment, Palestine highlighted potential opportunities for Malaysia in the areas of ICT, renewable energy, Islamic finance and tourism. However, challenges faced are the negative perception of the economic and political situation in Palestine, especially with the occupation by Israel.
Palestine also informed that a business delegation would visit Malaysia this year to leverage on the good bilateral relationship between the two countries. This visit is in conjunction with the Malaysia Halal Showcase 2019.
Malaysia’s total trade with Palestine for the period of January to November 2018 increased by 32 percent to reach RM13 million, compared with the corresponding period in 2017. Total exports rose to RM7.7 million, while imports expanded to RM5.3 million.
The top five exports to Palestine in 2017 included palm oil and palm-based agriculture products, palm oil based manufactured products, processed food, optical and scientific equipment and wood products.