Today, the United States expressed commitment to broaden and enhance the U.S.-Malaysia partnership.
On his visit to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Assistant Secretary Andrew J. Shapiro for Bureau of Political-Military Affairs underlined the importance of US-Malaysia partnership and the U.S. Focus on the Asia-Pacific Region.
“There are compelling reasons to why we are focused on the Asia-Pacific. The Asia-Pacific is home to half the world’s population, more than half the world’s GDP and nearly half of its trade.” -Mr. Shapiro
He cites Asia-Paciific is home to key allies and emerging powers.
He says that the United States is committed to renews its engagement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
However, Mr. Shapiro emphasizes that the U.S.-Malaysia partnership is an important part of its strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
The United States and Malaysia have a strong economic relationship. The United States is Malaysia’s single largest investor.
In 2010, America’s exports to Malaysia grew by 29% to a record of more than $18 billion. American imports from Malaysia also grew 11% to just shy of $20 billion, according to Mr. Shapiro
“We are happy to have Malaysia as a partner in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership- the single most ambitious regional trade undertaking now underway in the world.” -Mr. Shapiro
The United States and Malaysia are expanding their people-to-people contact.
Earlier this month, the United States tripled the number of Americans teaching English in Malaysian public schools.
The United States is committed to maintain the necessary capabilities, investments, and regional presence in Malaysia, but also to address emerging security challenges in the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr. Shapiro highlighted Defense and security cooperation is also an integral part of the growing partnership between the United States and Malaysia.
“We value Malaysia’s increasing participation in military exercises with the United States, including multilateral exercises with other neighbors in the region.” – Mr. Shapiro
U.S. naval ship visits to Malaysia have increased from the single digits annually.
The ship visits afford the U.S. government the opportunity to conduct passing exercises and otherwise engage with the Royal Malaysian Navy.
In terms of multilateral exercises, counter-piracy represents another element in which both U.S. and Malaysian forces are engaged.
The United States and Malaysia both participate actively in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. U.S. and Malaysian forces coordinate in their efforts to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Horn of Africa.
“We appreciate Malaysia’s contribution to the counter-piracy effort, both in the Indian Ocean and closer to home.” -Mr. Shapiro
On the areas of security cooperation, U.S. defense industries are also interested in establishing close partnerships with Malaysian counterparts.
Mr. Shapiro stresses that cooperation in military procurement will enable progress in this area and I know many of our largest defense contractors are working with Malaysian companies to this end.
The United States and Malaysia share key values and interests. Both countries continues to expand cooperation across the board, including on defense and security issues.
The United States is the largest foreign direct investor in Malaysia, and American manufacturing companies have invested about $15 billion here and employ about 166,000 Malaysians.
The United States and Malaysia launched negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in June 2006.