Govt sees nearly 4,000 SMEs in DFTZ in 2018

The DFTZ membership will help govt achieve target for SMEs to contribute 21% of exports and 40% of the economy by 2020

By IZZAT RATNA / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

The government expects participation in the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) to double from the present 1,900 small and medium enterprise (SME) members.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Chua Tee Yong (picture) said the Malaysian DFTZ, which is the only one outside China, will attract between 1,500 and 2,000 new members in 2018.

He said the DFTZ membership will help the government achieve its target for SMEs to contribute 21% of exports and 40% of the economy by 2020.

Chua said the DFTZ serves as an important import and export avenue for SMEs, whereby they can use its competitive financial exchange rate and advanced systems to boost product values globally.

“I would like to urge more SMEs to embark on this export-orientated market because compared to the conventional method — especially in terms of documentation and clearance procedures — it provides a faster and hassle-free export clearance.

“By using the DFTZ, they can shorten the export process, in tandem with a wider global customer out-reach,” he told reporters at the Malaysian Institute of Accountants International Conference 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Chua said the DFTZ is an example of the government’s initiative to encourage more SMEs to export.

“We are encouraging SMEs that are interested to join the export business to get in touch with the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp or Matrade, SME Corp Malaysia, as well as the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp,” he said.

According to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the number of local SMEs grew from 638,790 in 2010 to 907,065 in 2015, an increase of more than 260,000 new businesses or a 7.3% per annum growth.

Currently, SMEs contribute 36.6% to the national economy, 18.6% to exports and 65.3% to national employment.

At present, about 1,900 SMEs have already registered in the export-oriented business under the DFTZ.

The Trade Department anticipates Malaysia’s total trade to hit RM1.6 trillion by year-end, compared to RM1.49 trillion in 2016.

The total trade recorded in the first half of 2017 (1H17) rose 22% year-on- year (YoY) to RM859.17 billion from RM704 billion in the 1H16.

Exports increased 21% YoY to RM451.05 billion, while imports grew 23.3% YoY to RM408.12 billion.

A trade surplus of RM42.93 billion was recorded for the period compared to RM41.79 billion a year ago.