Beijing wants to enhance cooperation with Sarawak, says consul-general

Cheng (left) presenting a token of appreciation to Awang Tengah for officiating at the event.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, April 23: China is looking to further enhance its trade and investment with Sarawak, especially in digital economy and tourism.

China’s consul-general in Kuching, Cheng Guangzhong, said his country, through its “Belt and Road Initiative”, wanted to intensify cooperation with Sarawak to build up a digital silk road.

He added that China and Malaysia, especially Sarawak, were natural cooperation partners in fields such as infrastructure construction, equipment manufacturing, clean energy, tropical agriculture, marine agriculture, digital economy, green economy, elderly economy and characteristic tourism.

With outbound tourists from China reaching 150 million last year, he believed there was a huge space for both parties to carry out tourism cooperation.

China was also developing rapidly in the digital economy and information technology, where e-commerce, big data and cloud computing had been embedded into the ‘Belt and Road’ construction in recent years.

“I’m more than happy to see the cooperation between China and Sarawak is being kept on strong momentum in recent years. The cooperation in areas such as infrastructure construction, energy resources, information communication, agriculture and fishery go from strength to strength.

“These achievements cannot be reached without the support and assistance of both the federal and state governments, including local chamber of commerce and enterprises,” he said in his keynote address at the ‘Economic Workshop and Policy Briefing on Cooperation between China and Sarawak’ here today.

Cheng added that China always encouraged qualified enterprises to “go global”, carry out investments in strict accordance with international practices and requirements of the host country, and also compete and cooperate with their international counterpart on the same platform.

At the same time, these companies boost the local economy, increase employment opportunities and carry out social responsibilities.

He said Malaysia had also established itself as one of China’s top 10 trading partners as well as top 10 import sources. According to Chinese official statistics, trade volume between China and Malaysia last year reached US$108.63 billion and had been increasing about 13 per cent year to year.

Cheng also reported that the first quarter this year, China’s GDP (gross domestic product) reached US$2,134.33 billion, with its economy expanding by 6.4 per cent year to year.

“One of the reasons that China keeps steady progress and high-quality development is adhering to the principle of reform and active participation in economic globalisation and free trade.

“Recently, China introduced a series of measures of opening up (its economy) such as further relax controls over market access, shortened negative list for foreign investment, build up its pilot Free Trade Zone in Hainan, enacted new Foreign Investment Law and hosting international import expo.”

Since the launching of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, China had signed 172 cooperation agreements with 125 countries and 29 international organisations.

Cheng said fruitful results covering policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bond had been achieved, including a list of cooperation projects.

The workshop, themed `consultation, contribution, shared benefits and win-win’, which was also the principle of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, aimed to make Chinese enterprises operate in compliance with law and regulations in the state.

Relevant agencies and organisations in Sarawak were invited to introduce development plans, investment policies, laws and regulations.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who is also the state’s Industrial and Entrepreneur Development Minister, officiated at the function. — DayakDaily