I just had a good discussion with Federal Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel during the Working Lunch earlier. Both the Chancellor and I recognise the importance of economic relations in bringing our two countries closer together.
We discussed a number of important issues of mutual interest to both our countries. The meeting was a good opportunity for both of us to take stock on the current state of our bilateral relations and discuss how we can further strengthen our relations in the future.
We agreed in particular on the need to further strengthen trade and investment ties, which continue to show encouraging rate of growth. In 2015, total trade between our two countries amounted to €11.83 billion, which was an 8.12% growth compared to the previous year. Germany also remains the largest investor in Malaysia amongst EU member countries.
We deliberated quite extensively on regional and international issues. Chancellor Merkel briefed me on two major developments, namely the developments of the refugee crisis in Europe and the aftermaths of the Brexit referendum.
The developments of these two events brought even greater expectations towards Germany. I noted Chancellor Merkel’s perspective as well as measures that Germany has undertaken to cope with the developments of the issues. The future of the UK in Europe is an issue of strategic significance for Malaysia and we are following the issue closely.
We also talked about recent developments in the ASEAN region. I briefed Chancellor Merkel on the outcomes of the recently concluded 28th and 29th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Vientiane. Apart from matters related to ASEAN Community-building, Chancellor Merkel was interested in knowing about recent developments related to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. I briefed Chancellor Merkel on ASEAN’s position on the matter.
We had an exchange of views on the topic of regional trade and investment, a topic that concerns both our countries. I updated Chancellor Merkel on the progress related to the ASEAN Economic Community. The progress of the Trans-Pacific Trade and investment Partnership (TTIP) Agreement and how it will affect the regional economic landscape was also on the agenda. On our part, I shared Malaysia’s experience and outlook on the regional economy as a party of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Recent months have seen the strings of terror-related incidents take place in places around the world. Our two countries were not spared from falling victim to the heinous act of these extremists. We are united in condemning the act of these extremists and are committed in our fight against terrorism. We are both also concerned over the increasing number of our nationals who have been influenced by radical ideas, some of whom have travelled to conflict zones to participate in their version of a Holy War. As an active member of the international community, Malaysia is actively undertaking measures to combat the spread of extreme ideologies through international movements and coalitions such as the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Global Movement of the Moderates (GMM).
This is my first visit to the Federal Republic of Germany in my capacity as the Prime Minister of Malaysia. The visit enables me to take stock of the current state of our bilateral relations. I am very pleased with the fact that both Chancellor Merkel and I are on the same wavelength on many of the issues covered.
During this visit, I will also be engaging leaders of the German business and the Malaysian community in Germany. The engagement will provide me with the opportunity to listen to their concerns and obtain their feedbacks on issues of interest.
Tomorrow, I will travel to the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where I will be meeting the Minister-President His Excellency Mr. Erwin Sellering and senior members of her administration. I will also be making a visit to Wismar to see an investment project being undertaken by a Malaysian Company.