Malaysia’s Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) has announced securing MYR2.84bn ($610m) in investments from Italian businesses.

The announcement follows a visit of the country’s Trade and Investment Mission to Milan and Turin between 12 and 16 January, led by Malaysia’s Minister for Trade Tengku Zafrul Aziz. Mr Tengku Zafrul met with several Italian companies in the automotive, aerospace, semiconductor, food, biofuel and machinery and equipment sectors.

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Among them, Switzerland-based semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics and Italian defence company Leonardo’s Helicopter and Aircraft Division shared their FDI plans in Malaysia and “reaffirmed their commitment to explore new growth areas for knowledge transfer and the creation of high-quality jobs in the country”. STMicroelectronics has an assembly plant in Muar, a city in the southern state of Johor, Malaysia.

“The results of this mission reflect our commitment to dignify Malaysia’s position in the global supply chain,” said Mr Tengku Zafrul. “The partnership forged will also contribute significantly to Malaysia’s efforts to become a regional hub for technology and advanced innovation. MITI and its agencies, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority and MATRADE, will ensure that all these investments and export potential are realised.”

In addition to FDI plans, Kuala Lumpur and Rome representatives discussed the potential for increased trade between the two countries. In 2021, Malaysia imported $1.43bn worth of goods from Italy, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity. However, that paled by comparison to Malaysia’s largest imports in 2021, which came from China ($70.7bn), Singapore ($27.7bn), Japan ($15bn), the United States (14.8bn) and Taipei ($13.8bn).

In terms of FDI, the government in Kuala Lumpur recorded over $36.9bn in 2022, according to the US Department of State. Last year in November, Malaysian officials were expecting direct investment inflows from Japan alone to exceed $30bn in 2023.