THE US investments in the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) are expected to claim top spot, overtaking current leader Japan, by 2015.
Northern Corridor Implementation Authority chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq said new biotechnology projects in the agriculture and medical devices sectors, which will run into several million US dollars, are set to find their way to the northern states, with Kedah tipped to be the biggest beneficiary.
Redza, who last month was in the US to meet potential investors, said one investor is likely to set up a biotechnology incubator presence in Penang soon as it looks to expand into the NCER, which encompasses Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Perak.
Without providing investment details, he said the project was related to developing a protective layer employing nanotechnology to safeguard the value of agricultural crops.
"This protective sheen, which is safe to consume, can be used to treat surfaces at hospitals and hotels.
"The first venture in testing the product on crops is likely to be in Kedah as meetings between the investor and the Kedah authorities and Ministry of Agriculture representatives have taken place," he said.
US investments in the NCER currently rank third after Japan and Europe.
Among the American investments and reinvestments facilitated by the NCIA include collaboration with AMD Export (M) Sdn Bhd to build a development facility for micro-processor testing in Penang, along with US-based World Micro Inc to transfer counterfeit detection and abatement skills sets, best practices and standards to the electrical and electronics sector in the northern states.
"The potential US investors we met are pleased with the skill-sets anchored on the northern states' manufacturing excellence for nearly five decades and are keen to tap our skills in engineering with a slant on agriculture," Redza noted.
He added that another potential investment being facilitated by the NCIA is green technology-based and centred on harnessing solar energy.
In the first half of this year, the NCER attracted RM7.21 billion in investments, with RM3.12 billion from local participants and the remaining from foreign investors.
The largest chunk of the investments worth RM6.94 billion, or 96.3 per cent of the total, was from manufacturing sector, followed by tourism and agriculture.