The current state of U.S.-Malaysia relations

On November 6, 2019, the Meridian Corporate Council hosted Malaysian Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Dato’ Azmil bin Mohd Zabidi in partnership with Cargill to discuss the current state of U.S.-Malaysia relations and his view of the future between the two nations.

Ambassador Azmil framed his remarks by discussing the first peaceful transition of power since Malaysia’s independence. He continuously pointed toward the difference between the current and former Malaysian governments including their stances on corruption. The current government has made economic growth a priority by promoting quality investments through value-added goods instead of labor intensive. Their goal is to decrease the budget deficit from 3.8% to 3.4%, but Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad realizes that there will be hurdles to it due to the corruption of the previous government. Several scandals such as the 1MDB and Pilgrim’s Fund scandals have, in the words of the ambassador, “left deep scars in the economy."

Malaysia is the 18th largest trading partner with the United States, while the United States is the 3rd largest for Malaysia. U.S. trade disputes has not affected how Malaysia does business with U.S. companies and the government. Their adherence to the Sustainable Development Goals and Vision 2030 have forced the country to look at ways to modernize doing business in the country. The World Bank’s Doing Business Report shows that Malaysia is one of the top 20 countries to be doing business within the world along with the UAE, United Kingdom, Norway, Korea, and New Zealand. With Malaysia leading APEC next year and the theme of Shared Prosperity, Malaysia will hold a vital role in how the Asia-Pacific region will be shaped in the future.

Photos by Jessica Latos.



Project summary

The current state of U.S.-Malaysia relations
Regions: South and Central Asia, Western Hemisphere
Countries: Malaysia, United States
Impact Areas: Business and Trade, Governance and Transparency
Program Areas: Diplomacy
Partners: Diplomatic Corps, Private Sector