By FARA AISYAH
Contribution by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to the overall Malaysian exports into the Asean region is targeted to reach 23% by 2020, compared to 17.6% currently.
Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) Asean unit director (market access and international partnership division) Raja Badrulnizam Raja Kamalzaman said aggressive efforts are being made by the government and private sector to expedite the aim.
“Among the challenges SMEs are facing are to meet the requirement for certifications to export the products, get the financial resources to produce better products, and invest in technologies, the cultural and language barriers,” he said at a press conference announcing the upcoming SME Export Day that would be held on Aug 9 in Kuala Lumpur.
As it is, Malaysian exports have grown at a faster than anticipated rate of 32.5% to RM74.4 billion in May.
The figures had also outpaced imports, which grew 30.4% to RM73.91 billion for the first time in 12 months.
The exports share to Asean itself hit 30.3% in May, the first since July 2016. Among the reasons for the rise in share was the improvement in trade activities in the region.
Raja Badrulnizam said with a market size of 630 million people, trade with Asean is important to help increase exports contribution by the Malaysian SMEs.
The SME Export Day, organised jointly with PanPages Bhd, would see exporters, financiers and government representatives congregating for a series of key addresses and discussions focused on maintaining Malaysia’s competitiveness in global trade.
The conference is also expected to offer the most complete exportation guide to aspiring exporters as well as Malaysian SMEs that are planning to expand their businesses globally.
PanPages business community director CK Lim said there are nine million SMEs across Asean in the PanPages database that includes around 4,000 clients from Malaysia.
“95% of the them are doing business locally, while only 5% of them are doing exports.
“We would love to help the other 95% to expand their businesses across countries.”
SME Export Day is also held in conjunction with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s (MITI) AEC Open Day to commemorate the Asean 50th anniversary celebration.
Around 1,000 business decision-makers from export-ready Malaysian SMEs are expected to attend the full-day conference at Perdana Hall, MITI Tower.