Malaysia – Sri Lanka relations to focus on bilateral cooperation in trade and security in the post Covid-19 recovery

Colombo (Tribune International, SL Public Communication Div, 14 Dec 2020): Malaysian High Commissioner in Colombo Tan Yang Thai paid a Courtesy Call on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry premises on 11 December 2020. Discussions between the two dignitaries focused on enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade and security between the two countries.

The High Commissioner while commenting that all countries are struggling to stay afloat amidst the raging COVID-19 virus which continues to claim heavy toll in their economies, commended policies implemented by Sri Lanka to tackle the spread of the virus.  The High Commissioner further noted that Malaysia will continue to support the ASEAN centrality and the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) expected to facilitate the Southeast Asian economies to return to normalcy overcoming the contagion in the post COVID -19 era. The RCEP will connect about 30% of the world’s people and generate significant gains, in particular Southeast Asia by 2030 and improve access to Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) opening up opportunities for market access in areas of transport, energy, and communications.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena further expressing his sincere wishes to the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, highlighted that he is optimistic that Sri Lanka and Malaysia could gear up its cooperation in multifarious fields at the beginning of next year by holding bilateral political consultations. Both dignitaries agreed that there is immense potential for Sri Lanka to expand trade with Malaysia, in particular agriculture based industries.

Minister Gunawardena further commended the cooperation extended by Malaysia in security related fields and both endorsed closer cooperation. High Commissioner Tan underlined that Malaysia will not condone any type of terrorism or extremism in Malaysia, and will take every measure to curtail and will continue to promote peace and stability in the region. Furthermore, the Malaysian High Commissioner assured that Malaysia will continue to support Sri Lanka in the regional and International fora. Minister Gunawardena reiterated that Sri Lanka expects to build a strong bond with the ASEAN community during his tenure and highlighted that Sri Lanka expects to become a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.

The trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia has been increasing over the last few years with the emergence of Malaysia as one of Sri Lanka’s major trading partners. At present, Malaysia is the 4th supplier to Sri Lanka in 2019 supplying 4.6% of Sri Lanka’s total imports. Malaysia was the 39th export destination of Sri Lanka in 2019. Malaysia was the 6th investing partner of Sri Lanka in the year of 2019.


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