KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — The United States (US)-China trade war does not have a major impact on Malaysia’s trade performance with both countries, even though it has impacted the global economy.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said Malaysia’s trade with the United States for Jan-June 2020 registered an increase of 3.1 per cent to RM80.41 billion compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
The country’s export to the US also rose by 2.4 per cent to RM46.15 billion, while its import edged 4.1 per cent to RM34.26 billion.
Almost 80 per cent of Malaysia’s export to the US was contributed by electrical and electronic products, rubber products, optical and scientific equipment, timber products and other manufacturing products.
About 76 per cent of import from the US was made up of electrical and electronic products, chemical and chemical products, machinery and equipment, optical and scientific equipment and steel products.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s trade with China for Jan-June this year according to the MITI saw a 0.3 per cent increase to RM149.16 billion compared to the corresponding period in 2019.
The country’s export to China during that period rose 8.3 per cent to RM69.43 billion supported mainly by electrical and electronics, chemical and chemical products, petroleum products, metals manufacturing and other manufacturing products.
MITI said Malaysia’s import from the Asian country decreased by 5.8 per cent to RM79.73 billion with major imports comprised of electrical and electronics, machine, equipment, chemical and chemical products, petroleum products and metals manufacturing.
The ministry also highlighted that Malaysia’s trade performance had contracted slightly from January-June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with total trade declining by as much as seven per cent y-o-y to RM833.36 billion.
“Exports contracted by 6.8 per cent y-o-y to RM448.99 billion and imports fell by 7.2 per cent y-o-y to RM384.38 billion, while trade surplus was 4.1 per cent lower y-o-y at RM64.61 billion,” it said in a written reply to Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s (BN-Bagan Datuk) question on the US-China trade war and the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on Malaysia’s imports and exports this year.
MITI noted that there were several business opportunities in certain sectors, citing the substantial 40.3 per cent increase in rubber glove exports, following the robust demand in the global market due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Exports of medical devices such as test kits and disinfectants had also increased,” it said.
Due to the ongoing US-China trade war and the unabating pandemic, MITI said it had taken proactive steps through its trade promotion agency, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) to address the trade impact on Malaysia.
This includes focusing on the usage of digital technology to reduce the cost of exports promotion so that Malaysian exporting companies can stay competitive.
It said that between Jan 1-July 31, 2020, the eBizMatch business matching digital platform saw 576 business matchings, involving 395 foreign buyers and 538 Malaysian companies, registering RM461.35 million of potential sales.
MATRADE has also expanded its Market Development Grant (MDG) to include virtual trade promotion activities.
MDG has also allowed for the reimbursement of up to 30 per cent of total logistic costs, including transportation and warehousing costs for the delivery of products overseas to alleviate the financial burden on Malaysian exporting companies due to the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“From Jan 1-July 31, 2020, 1,427 applications from 962 companies were processed and a grant totalling RM14.56 million had been disbursed,” the ministry said.
It added that MATRADE had also collaborated with the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) and other relevant bodies to organise the Virtual Trade Clinic, a trade advisory service platform to assist companies in meeting the requirements and overcoming challenges in the exports markets.