- 2007/10/05 Belgians to invest in new Malaysian sectors

Belgian investments in Malaysia, which were mostly in the financial and insurance industry, are expected to expand into new areas such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.

Ambassador Dr Frank Van de Craen said several preliminary agreements are due to be inked by a group of Belgian investors during the upcoming Best of Belgium 2007 programme next month.

"These investments are on a smaller scale, with most of them costing not be more than 2 million euros (RM9.64 million) each," he said at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Apart from insurer Fortis, which has partnered top lender Maybank, Belgians have been involved in several infrastructure projects in the country, particularly in the steel structures of several high rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur.

The Best of Belgium event will provide guests with a kaleidoscope of Belgian elements, with culinary masterpiece, lyrical and chic couture and comedy capers being the highlights of this year's event.

The event, which will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on November 2 is part of an annual function to establish cross-cultural exchange and trade relations between Malaysia and other countries.

de Craen said bilateral trade between both countries totalled 825 million euro (RM3.98 billion) last year, with exports from Belgium totalling 350 million euro (RM1.69 billion) and exports from Malaysia totalling 475 million euro (RM2.29 billion).

"Despite being one of the most industrialised states in the world, Belgium still has a bit of image problem and suffers from an unfamiliarity syndrome as we are not just chocolates and beers, fine food and historical cities."

Located in the heart of western Europe, Belgium is 30,000 sq km in size and has about 10 million people speaking three national languages, Dutch, French and German.

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