Spain keen to explore potential in green, digital economy with Malaysian companies

Spain keen to explore potential in green, digital economy with Malaysian companies

KUALA LUMPUR: Spain is keen to explore business opportunities with Malaysian companies in new economic sectors that are geared towards digitalisation and decarbonisation.

Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Embassy of Spain in Malaysia, Ines Perez-Durantez, said with Malaysia’s strategic location in the ASEAN region and Spanish expertise and state-of-art technology in these fields, the collaboration between both sides would be a “perfect match”.

She said among the sectors that have big potential are renewable energies, water and waste treatment, high-tech industrial solutions, and traffic management system.

“Spanish technology offers flexible and affordable high-quality solutions in a variety of sectors, a perfect match for Malaysian companies wishing to enhance their capacities and engage in collaborations to expand in the ASEAN market,” she said in an email interview with Bernama.

She said the global Covid-19 pandemic had further reinforced the importance of green economy and the trend towards digitalisation and decarbonisation.

Citing collaboration agreements signed last year between Axiata and Telefonica, as well as between Sunway Hotels and Amadeus, she said these are good examples of Malaysian and Spanish companies joining forces to emerge stronger from the pandemic.

Perez-Durantez was also optimistic that Malaysia is well-positioned to attract valuable investment at the higher end of the value chain if it maintains a business-friendly environment and reactivates economic growth.

“Malaysia offers a modern, English-speaking ecosystem with legal certainty, skilled labour force, and good access to the ASEAN region at reasonable costs.

“But Malaysia has to ensure that all the advantages it offers as a location outweigh the disadvantages in comparison to some other ASEAN countries that provide lower costs, larger markets, and faster growth,” she said.

In this regard, Perez-Durantez said among functions of the Economic and Commercial Office, here, which was established in 1987, is to assist Spanish companies interested to invest in Malaysia – by providing information and connecting the companies to the relevant local industry players.

Likewise, she said the Office also help Malaysian companies to team up with Spanish partners to develop joint projects in Malaysia and in the ASEAN region as well as those who are keen to set up offices in Spain – making the kingdom as a gateway to the European market, as well as to the Latin American and North African markets.

“This applies not only to MNC (multinational corporations) but also to smaller companies,” she said.

Citing the collaboration between MIGHT and its Spanish counterpart – Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI), she said both organisations had launched a call for start-ups from both countries to collaborate in joint projects in innovative areas where Malaysian companies can apply for a grant up to RM500,000 per project.

She added that Spain is also involved in training skilled labour force in Malaysia in order to prepare them to meet the needs of companies that are starting their manufacturing bases here.

These, she said, are conducted through technical cooperation projects such as the Universiti Kuala Lumpur – Malaysian Spanish Institute (UniKL MSI) at Kulim Hi-Tech Park in Kedah.

Under strong collaborative efforts between the Malaysian and Spanish governments, the institute, which was opened in 2003, offers four bachelor degree programmes and four diploma programmes in the engineering technology and automotive fields to the locals. — Bernama