China remains important trade partner for Sabah

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KOTA KINABALU: China remains as Sabah’s significant trade partner as its trade volume registered an increase of 1.2 per cent to RM6.56 billion for the first six months this year.

“As the economic and trade cooperation between Malaysia and China continue to progress, I look forward to more China trade and investments into Sabah,” said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor at the People’s Republic of China‘s 74th National Day celebration held at Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa here on Thursday night.

China is now Malaysia’s largest trading partner, and Malaysia ranks near the top of China’s trading partners in Southeast Asia.

In his speech read by Deputy Chief Minister II and Minister of Local Government and Housing, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Joachim Gunsalam, Hajiji said there was much to be done to strengthen and align Sabah’s development strategies with China, combining the realisation of Chinese modernisation with Malaysia Madani and Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) aspirations.

On tourism, the Chief Minister said arrivals from China were also growing steadily since the full reopening of China’s border in March this year.

“For the first six months this year, Chinese visitors were recorded at 17,040 (an increase of 680.6 per cent) compared to only 2,188 in the corresponding period last year.

“Sabah is connected to seven major cities in China with 54 weekly flights and seat capacity of 9,861 and we hope to see more air connectivity to increase visitor arrivals from China.

“We are pleased that Sabah has remained a sought-after destination for Chinese visitors, either for leisure or business,” he said.

Hajiji also said the upward trend in overall visitor arrivals to Sabah, totalling 1,198,536 arrivals from January to June of this year, was a good sign as this had generated RM2.45 billion in tourism receipt for Sabah.

“This represented a 69.1 per cent increase compared to the corresponding period last year,” he said.

And, Hajiji added that Sabah looked forward to more cooperation with China in areas such as green energy, manufacturing, high technology agriculture, and smart city construction, among others, to promote mutual benefits and win-win private-public partnerships.

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