HONG KONG - The future looks promising for Asia as regional connectivity improves and gives birth to new trade and investment opportunities, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic) said.
The Transport Minister said Asian nations are expected to grow at a rate higher than the World Bank's global growth projection of 2.7%.
"For example, Malaysia has been forecasted to grow at 5.2% while China's growth is projected at 6.7%.
"This is the age of Asia," he said.
Enhanced transport infrastructure, he added, would pave the way for a stronger logistics sector, which is the backbone of a country's economy.
He said that is why the Malaysian government and its Transport Ministry had focused on developing the country's logistics sector and nurturing logistics partnerships with China as well as Asean and Asia Pacific nations.
"We are committed to creating a seamless, integrated and interconnected network across land, aviation and maritime transport networks, including railways, airports and seaports.
"It is our aim to develop an efficient, productive and business-friendly environment as we transform Malaysia into a logistics hub within the region," Liow said.
He expressed confidence that Malaysia's world ranking position would be elevated with an improved transport network and logistics sector.
At present, Malaysia is ranked in 23rd spot for ease of doing business out of 190 economies, based on the World Bank's Doing Business Report 2017.
Liow also briefed the guests about the Digital Free Trade Zone that was just launched with China's Alibaba Group.
The facility, comprising an e-fulfilment hub, aims to accelerate turnaround time for cargo by shortening border clearance from six to three hours and improving cargo terminal operations from four hours to 90 minutes.
"We are wholly confident that the DFTZ will transform Malaysia into Asia's leading transhipment hub by 2025, moving US$65bil (RM272.8bil) worth of goods," Liow said.
The WCES, now in its ninth edition, is organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) to enhance connectivity and business linkage between China and South-East Asia, and China and Europe.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will deliver a keynote address on Monday night during the patron's dinner and award presentation ceremony.