BY WONG CHUN WAI
YALTA (Ukraine): Malaysia will push its exports to Ukraine and other Eastern European countries which are opening up their markets and have accepted the international currency market to boost the economy.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia wanted to promote its consumer, household, electrical and construction products to these countries.
He said Ukraine was strong in making defence equipment but still lagged behind in manufacturing consumer goods.
“Previously, these countries did not buy from outside but now they have free markets and have accepted foreign currencies.
“This is an opportunity for us to enter what was once a closed market,” he told newsmen at the end of his four-day visit to Ukraine, the biggest European country after Russia.
He arrived here on Tuesday where he met leaders of the Crimea Autonomous Republic.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said Ukraine had great potential to be a trading partner of Malaysia and that as a trading nation, Malaysia must always look for new markets.
He said Ukraine’s location near the Black Sea, with its strategically located port, would help Malaysia export its products, particularly palm oil.
Dr Mahathir said Malaysia could also learn from Ukraine, which had technological skills in the building of ships and boats.
He said Ukraine had a strong background in making defence equipment, adding that it first fought Germany during the Second World War and then Russia.
“It did not place priority on consumer products and was not very efficient in making them,” he added.
Later, Dr Mahathir took test rides on Superfoils and other naval craft from a jetty not far from the guesthouse where he was staying.
He also met Malaysian students, mostly studying at the Crimea State Medical University, for lunch before leaving for Kuala Lumpur with his wife Datuk Seri Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali.
The Star, Thursday 17 July 2003