Exporters, producers urged to leverage on trade war


Newly appointed Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok Suh Sim (picture) urged Malaysian exporters and producers to seize the opportunities arising from the trade war between China and the US.

China had called for retaliatory tariffs targeting US exports such as soybeans and cars in response to US President Donald Trump’s 25% proposed tariff on 1,300 industrial, transport and medical groups.

“The trade war between the US and China has presented Malaysian exporters with the opportunity to offer products to the Chinese markets. And with China’s move to place tariffs on US soybean oil, it might be good for Malaysian palm oil producers,” Kok said.

She said since palm oil is a big revenue earner for the country, Malaysia must work hard to meet the possible increase in demand for agri-commodity products.

Malaysia and China have a strong trade relation in agri-commodity. In 2017, it was valued at RM23.63 billion.

Last year, the total value of Malaysia’s agri-commodity and agri-commodity-based products exported to China stood at RM19.1 billion, an increase of 27% compared to RM15 billion recorded in 2016.

“The commodity export was mainly contributed by palm products valued at RM9.42 billion, followed by rubber and rubber products at RM8.09 billion. In 2017, China was the third-biggest buyer of Malaysian palm oil and palm oil-related products.

“Last year, the country imported 1.92 million tonnes of palm oil from Malaysia. India imported 2.03 million tonnes and the European Union (EU) imported 1.99 million tonnes,” she said in her speech during the launch of the 8th Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference (MCEC 2018) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

In addition, the presence of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd would create more trade opportunities which will add onto the bilateral trade and cooperation between the two countries.

With regard to the export of rubber and rubber products to China, Kok said China has overtaken the US and EU to become the top export destination for Malaysia.

“Our rubber export to China rose 80% to RM6.6 billion, or 875,000 tonnes, last year,” she said.

The MCEC 2018, an effort by the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC), aims to further promote and strengthen existing bilateral trade and ties between Malaysia and China.

MCCC president Tan Yew Sing said the conference aims to attract 400 Malaysian and Chinese entrepreneurs.

“The conference will also provide a business match session for the entrepreneurs. We hope the conference will provide a platform for both Malaysian and Chinese enterprises to collaborate — particularly those in Nanjing, Jiangsu,” he said.