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Friday, December 7, 2007

PM: Opportunities available for private sector in IMT-GT

PENANG: The private sector in the Indonesia Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) should take advantage of commercial opportunities available in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), which was recently launched by the government to enhance trade flows in the region.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said while the government's main thrust under the NCER was to accelerate economic growth and elevate income levels for the northern peninsular region, participation from neighbouring Asean provinces in Thailand and Indonesia was welcome.

Abdullah said this at the launching of the IMT-GT SME Conference and Expo 2007 themed "Strategic Partnership: SME Growth for the Future" jointly organised by the Penang state government, Ministry of International Trade and Industry and SMIDEC.

Also present were International Trade and Industry minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, Penang Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Tajol Rosli Ghazali and Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.

More than 1,000 participants from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are attending the conference which will be held until Dec 9.

"Since we are in Penang, which is expected to be a prime mover of the NCER, Penang can offer to the IMT-GT business community many opportunities as Penang is strategically positioned to be the best logistics and transportation hub in the IMT-GT region.

"Under the NCER plan, the government will upgrade Penang's logistics infrastructure, which includes the airport, seaport and land transportation facilities. We hope these upgrades will act as a catalyst to increase growth of distributive trade in the region.

"In turn, higher trade will spur more cross-border investment transactions between the three countries," he added.

Abdullah said another area that Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were well placed to capitalise on was the partnership in the supply and marketing of halal products, especially those related to food and herbal-based products.

He added that 29 acres had been designated as a halal park in Padang Besar, Perlis which could serve as a logistics gateway for halal products between the northern peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand.


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