Connecticut eyeing the local emerging market - Abdullah Ahmad

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Dali said Malaysia was America's 11th largest trading partner last year and the 17th biggest market for US exports.

He stressed: "This is indeed remarkable given Malaysia's total population of only 20 million and yet it is able to provide a market for the United States that is more than double the American markets of Russia and India combined - Russia and India are the home of 1.1 billion people.

"This is indicative of the open and liberal trade policies practiced by Malaysia as well as a reflection of the widespread prosperity in our country.

"The other important dimension of Malaysia-United States relation is in the field of direct foreign investment. The United States is indeed an important source of direct foreign investment, ranking over the years as either the first, second or third largest investor in Malaysia.

"We are indeed appreciative of American investment in Malaysia. We acknowledge that these investments, more than any other country, have transferred technology to Malaysians and have contributed to our rapid industrialisation.

"Looking ahead, I am confident that there will be further intensification of Malaysia-United States relations, including businesses from Connecticut. Indeed, apart from your ingenuity which I referred to earlier, another significant reason for selecting Connecticut as my first target for expanding bilateral business ties is Connecticut's strong state leadership and that Connecticut is not parochial compared to some other states in the Union.

"I understand that the Connecticut Department of Economics and Community Development already has an International Strategic Action Plan for enhancing business opportunities for Connecticut firms throughout the globe. Your economists have identified eight ŽEmerging Markets' which are significant, one of which is Malaysia. This clearly indicates that the government of Connecticut already understands the potential for expanding trade relationship with Malaysia."