EU-Malaysia trade to match pre-pandemic levels by year-end: EU Ambassador hinh anh 1EU Ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas (Photo: Internet) 
Kuala Lumpur (VNA) - The European Union (EU) is expecting trade with Malaysia to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, EU Ambassador to Malaysia Michalis Rokas has said.

The EU pledged to continue to make Malaysia its strategic partner given its significant gateway to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market, he spoke during Bernama TV’s programme  entitled “Malaysia-EU Relations” on January 31.

ASEAN countries in general are a great destination, he said, adding that 45% of EU trade (to ASEAN) goes through Malaysia’s shores.

According to Rokas, the EU and Malaysia have formed a strong bilateral relationship and investment commitment for decades even before the introduction of any treaty tools or trade instrument. This means Malaysia is already a trusted partner for the EU, because of its democracy, rule of law, native English speakers, ease of doing business and skilled workforce, among others, he was quoted by Bernama news agency as saying.

The ambassador said the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which was signed in Brussels in December last year, would provide a major springboard that would boost EU-Malaysia trade.

Pre-pandemic, the two-way EU-Malaysia trade amounted to over 300 billion EUR but it dropped to 50 billion EUR after the pandemic hit amid supply chain disruptions, labour shortages, and closure of factories.

Expressing his interest to be working closely with the new government under the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on various reforms, Rokas said there are close to 1,500 European companies operating in the Southeast Asian country at present.

For future potential collaboration, he said key areas would be in green technologies, digitalisation, cybersecurity, human development, education as well as logistics and commodity manufacturing./.