Vice President Jejomar C. Binay Monday deemed the relaunching of the Malaysia-Philippines Business Council as timely due to increasing trade and investments between the two countries.

Malaysian trade officials see agriculture, investment and finance, logistics, halal industry, tourism and education as potential areas for Philippines-Malaysia business collaboration.

In a separate briefing by the Malaysian External Trade Development Corp., trade officials see excellent opportunities to enhance trade and investment.

“The revitalization of the Malaysia-Philippines Business Council (MPDC) has never been more pressing and relevant. As next-door neighbors, we should be helping each other,” Binay said during a luncheon meeting with the council.

The Vice President is in Kuala Lumpur to serve as keynote speaker at the Philippines-Malaysia Investment Partnership Forum.

With him are 35 business leaders belonging to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines.

Mohammad Ridzal Sherrif, Deputy Secretary General for Trade of the Malaysia International Trade and Industry, said Binay’s trip to Malaysia is the country’s first high level bilateral visit in five years.

Azmil Khalid, Protempore Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alloy Mtd. Group, expressed optimism that the visit will provide the impetus for the MPBC to expand.

“Exciting time lies ahead. Both Philippines and Malaysia should seize opportunities,” Khalid said, citing the increasing presence of Malaysian investors in Philippine banking and gaming as well as the Philippine presence in Malaysia through San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

SMC contributed to the recent surge in two-way investment flows between the Philippines and Malaysia when it invested at least US$610 million in Esso Malaysia Bhd.

In 2011, Malaysia ranked as the Philippines’ 9th largest trading partner, with total trade amounting to US$3.83 billion. Philippines, on the other hand, was Malaysia’s 11th largest export market and 8th largest import market, valued at US$1.396 billion and US$2.438 billion, respectively.

“The two-way trade and investment between our countries has picked up, an encouraging and very welcome development for us all,” Binay said.

“May this be the start of a great partnership between Malaysian and Philippine businesses towards mutually beneficial development and progress,” he added.