Malaysia’s total trade rises to RM1.77 trillion

By D.KANYAKUMARI / pic by TMR file

Malaysia’s total trade in 2017 increased to RM1.77 trillion or 19.4% higher compared to RM1.4 trillion recored last year, the highest growth in 13 years, says International Trade and Industries minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (picture).

He said the better performance was contributed by the improved trade with Asean countries which grew 21% or RM84.49 billion from the last year. 

“China was our biggest trade partner where trade grew by 20.6% amounting to RM49.68 billion. This was followed by the European Union at 17.5% growth and the United States at 16.3%,” he said in Kuala Lumpur today. 

He said 2017 was a phenomenal year for trade growth.

“We are however forecasting about 20% to 25% growth in 2018,” he said without going into details. 

Last week Mustapa announced that Malaysia targeted the trade growth for 2017 to reach RM1.8 trillion, surpassing the RM1.4 trillion recorded in 2016. 

Meanwhile, he said Malaysia does not expect the United States to rejoin the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). 

Mustapa said US president Donald Trump’s view on the deal was very different. 

“It is obvious that the TPPA in its current form was not of the expectations of the United States.

“We cannot speak on behalf of the others but we have gone very far and reached the maximum. We know we cannot make further concessions if that is what he (Trump) is expecting of us,” he said, adding that Malaysia is aware that certain countries habour hopes that the US will rejoin the TPPA.

“It is unrealistic to expect the current US administration to rejoin the TPPA,” he said.

Last week, Donald Trump had tweeted that the US  administration would consider rejoining TPPA if there was a “substantially better deal”. 

Trump killed the US participation in the TPP after he was made president, one of his election promises. Trump has labelled TPP as a job-killing “disaster.”