A senior Malaysian official on Tuesday invited Turkish businesspeople to invest in his country's Selangor province.
Speaking at a virtual event, Amirudin Shari, the chief minister of Selangor province, asked Turkish investors to consider their operations in Malaysia's most populated province.
"It will further nurture Turkish-Malaysian relations," Shari said at the event, hosted by World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF).
The annual trade volume between Turkey and Malaysia reached $2.3 billion in 2020.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the chief minister said, he assures to provide a "better outlook in near future" for the investors.
Selangor is a province on the west coast of the Malaysian peninsula, encircling the capital Kuala Lumpur. It is the biggest contributor to the country's gross domestic product with 24.3%.
Merve Safa Kavakci, Turkey's ambassador to Malaysia, said the trade volume between Turkey and Malaysia had already "increased by 46% in the first 6 months of 2021."
"Trade is normalizing back after the pandemic," Kavakci said.
She said the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries that entered into force in 2015 boosted the trade relations.
The trade volume rose to $3.4billion after the FTA was signed and has remained around $2.5 billion since 2018, the ambassador added.
Emphasizing increasing the bilateral trade target to $5 billion, Kavakci said her country presents "EU-quality and cost-advantage material at the same time" to its customers.
She said areas of trade, services, e-commerce, investments are the main focus to increase the bilateral trade and that "FTA must be expanded" to achieve these goals.
Kavakci said Turkey and Malaysia have a "deep interest" in developing existing relations in the defense sector.
To create further opportunities, she said the two countries signed 14 business-to-business Memorandums of Understanding, mostly in the defense sector, in 2019.
"There is $1 billion cooperation in the defense sector between the two countries and we want to increase it," the Turkish ambassador said.
Hasan Gumus, the chairman of the Turkey-Malaysia Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey, said Malaysia is a "strategic partner and a gateway to Asia" for Turkey.
Despite the pandemic, he said, "we have continued contacts with our counterparts in Malaysia and Selangor is an attractive" destination for trade.
Gumus said Turkey is also a gateway for Malaysian products to a foreign market worth $8 trillion.
Hasan Azhari Haji Idris, the chief executive officer of the Invest Selangor Board, said the province boasts of main airport and seaport besides being home to the world's 12th busiest container port with a growing railway network.
Selangor is the most populated province with 6.5 million people and a 75% workforce rate, said Idris.
Around 65,000 students graduate every year from universities in the province.
Idris said there is a need for academic-industry collaboration "to meet demands of the industry."
He said the province was focusing on five areas in manufacturing, including food and beverages, transport equipment, life sciences, machinery equipment, electrical and electronics equipment.