Bahrain sees Malaysia as gateway to Southeast Asian markets
Bahrain and Malaysia sealed pacts on trade, banking and oil Thursday, November 1 in a bid to use each other as gateways to enter markets in the Gulf and Southeast Asia respectively.
Bahrain Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al-Khalifa held talks on the second day of his visit here with his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad at the government administrative center of Putrajaya. The leaders signed two memorandums of understanding, one for the establishment of a Malaysian trade and distribution center and the other for the development of Islamic banking and finance in Bahrain.
They also witnessed the signing of two oil exploration and production-sharing agreements involving two blocks in Bahrain's eastern offshore area between Bahrain and Malaysian national oil firm Petronas. Petronas has been awarded the tender based on its proposal submitted in June this year to the Bahrain government.
"Bahrain is interested in using Malaysia as a base for them to enter and to get to know (markets in) East Asia and specifically the Southeast Asian region," Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar told reporters.
"Malaysia in turn will use Bahrain as a base to exhibit and promote its goods to the Gulf states." The two countries would also look into the possibility of collaborating in the fields of education, medicine and air travel, he said.
Syed Hamid said Sheikh Khalifa had asked Mahathir to convey Bahrain's desire to forge closer rapport with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the group's summit this weekend in Brunei.
The two leaders did not discuss terrorism but touched on "how September 11 has changed the way we do business, the way that we cooperate," he said, adding the two countries were now working on more joint ventures and collaboration. Sheikh Khalifa was to leave later Thursday for Thailand, officials said. — (AFP, Putrajaya)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)