MITI to monitor trade with Turkey amid financial crisis

Minister says for any similar crisis that may happen, MITI will be at the forefront of it

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

THE Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) will closely monitor the financial crisis in Turkey that saw the lira hitting a record low and losing more than 34% of its value against the US dollar on Monday.

Minister Darell Leiking (picture) said a crisis in any of Malaysia’s trading partners will definitely have an economic impact on the country, but MITI is ready to cushion the fall.

“We will come up with a solution for all and hope that companies will not be badly affected. Our exports to Turkey are very high, so hopefully we will be able to sustain it while receiving the payments for the right values,” he told reporters at the Malaysia Aerospace Summit 2018 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Darell said trade between the two nations stood at RM12.06 billion in 2017 and its total exports grew by 43.8% to RM10.51 billion, whi le imports grew 24.6% to RM1.55 billion.

He said it is still too early to tell what the impact may be, but MITI will watch closely to ensure the country’s international trade is protected first.

“For any similar crisis that may happen, MITI will be at the forefront of it,” he added.

Darell said the positivity derived from the new government has been good for international trade as it has restored investors’ confidence overall.

“The system is still recuperating. The first 100 days will not solve anything, especially when we’ve had over 50 years of the same old thing. There are bound to be hiccups and challenges when the whole ecosystem restarts,” he said.

Darell said the new government has also assured investors on transparency, certainty and consistency. “Malaysia will remain an open economy, but if faced with challenges, we will need to think of strategies to ensure it stays an open economy.

“We have assured investors and trade commissioners that we are working on making Malaysia the centre of all businesses in the future,” Darell said.

Meanwhi le, he praised the National Aerospace Industry Coordinating Office (NAICO) under the stewardship of MITI in achieving what they have done so far. He said the aerospace industry in Malaysia has been growing exponentially and in 2017 generated RM13.5 billion, while they hope to increase exports by 7%-8% this year.

“I would like to see the government focusing and investing into this unit, so we can push NAICO to become a whole agency in the future,” he said.

Last year, the exports of the aerospace industry stood at RM8.51 billion and a target of RM55 billion in total revenue, while a 1,000 workforce has been set by the year 2030.

“Malaysia has a huge potential in the global aerospace business, products made in Malaysia are being supplied throughout the world and this has contributed greatly to the growth of our aerospace export,” Darell said.

NAICO head Shamsul Kamar Abu Samah said the division is confident in achieving its targets because of the efforts and coordination the unit has put in.

“We captured three large investments and we believe this will help push our efforts further,” he said. He added that the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services are also growing in the country, with not less than 70 companies focusing on this area.

By 2037, there will be many aircraft deliveries to South-East Asia, so there will be a big demand for MRO services. We also want to bring more digitalisation into the industry, like capturing data from the aircraft and feeding it back into the MRO organisation, so more preventative maintenance can be done instead,” Shamsul Kamar said.

Among the companies present at the summit this year included Spirit AeroSystems Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Airod Sdn Bhd, Honeywell Aerospace Services, SME Aerospace Sdn Bhd and UMW Aerospace Sdn Bhd.

A spokesperson at SME Aerospace told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that the company manufactures components mainly for the air wing area, using a type of aluminium called metal aluminium seven series.

“We export to many countries like Australia, India, France, Switzerland and the US. Once the pieces are exported, they are then assembled into the wings of the plane,” she said to TMR.

Both SME Aerospace and Airod function under National Aerospace and Defence Industries Sdn Bhd.

“We recently won a contract to service US Navy planes until 2020. We also do various types of maintenance for both aircraft and helicopters,” the spokesperson told TMR.