Asia Should Boost New Trade Partnerships

A Ripe Opportunity To Be Found Amid Protectionist Rhetoric

It’s a good time to do business in Asia. The rise in US-led anti-globalism is bound to encourage innovation, as Asian states explore new ways to grow their trade.

In contrast to US President Donald Trump’s zero-sum vision of the global economy, countries in Asia have had a long history of open trade regimes. In the current climate, it’s vital that Asian states continue to forge new partnerships.

Malaysia and India, for example, with their long history of diplomatic ties, have untapped synergies in trade and investment. Just as India presents vast potential for Malaysian investors, with its huge economy and position as gateway to South Asia, Malaysia is ideal for Indian businesses looking for alternative sources of funds.

Growth Opportunities

Since India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office in 2014, attracting foreign investment has been one of his priorities. Infrastructure development will boost the government’s ‘Make in India’ program, which aims to transform the nation into a global manufacturing hub.

Malaysia, with its world-class infrastructure, has expertise that India can make use of. While Malaysian participation in India’s infrastructure development has focused on the roads sector, India’s ‘Smart Cities’ initiative and its ambitious renewable energy targets have made urban renewables and power projects attractive to Malaysia’s engineering and construction companies.

Improved infrastructure in India will create a more attractive environment for Malaysian companies doing business there

More importantly, with its deep capital market, Malaysia can provide Indian companies with an important source of offshore finance. India has estimated that it will need more than USD1.5 trillion to plug the nation’s infrastructure gap over the next decade.

An improved infrastructure network will enable India to strengthen its logistics sector by increasing connectivity between key industrial hubs. In turn, improved infrastructure in India will create a more attractive environment for Malaysian companies doing business there.

A Win-Win Scenario

As Malaysia and India celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations, it’s never too early to reflect on how both countries can work together to shape the coming decades.

Investing for the betterment of each other’s economy and businesses will create a win-win outcome in a world in need of a new economic paradigm.

About Mahendra Gursahani

Mahendra Gursahani is Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad (SCBMB), based in Kuala Lumpur. In addition, he was appointed to the Board in February 2015. His career with Standard Chartered began more than two decades ago and has led to him working in many of the Bank’s regions. Mahendra’s experience spans retail banking, corporate banking, credit risk management and asset management. He has also held a variety of roles in finance including audit and risk.