Trade war will affect Malaysia’s exports

Malaysia will take cautious steps to prevent product dumping in the local market, says minister


MALAYSIA’S trade surplus could be negatively affected this year and in 2019 in the wake of the ongoing tariff war between the US and China, said International Trade and Industry Minister Darell Leiking (picture).

He said while Malaysia welcomes trade diversions and can facilitate the imports to neighbouring Asean countries, the trade war will affect all countries — particularly emerging economies.

Darell also said Malaysia will take cautious steps to prevent product dumping in the local market created by the diversion from the trade war.

“That is the one that we are concern about because we don’t want them to divert their trade and then dump into our country, but we want them to look for opportunities with our country — not to dump,” he told reporters after officiating the Malaysian Oil & Gas Services Exhibition and Conference yesterday.

He said the ministry is also aware of the possibility of import product dumping in the local market as global traders seek to elude the US-China trade war.

“What we want is the US and China to come to their senses. Whatever they decide, although it involves protectionism, (they should) think that as global giants, they should also consider the effects on those who are trading with them.

“We want them to solve their problems amicably — not for their own interest, but for the interest of the world,” he said.

Darell said the trade war is an opportunity for Asean to push forward in terms of trade, by grouping together and protecting the region’s

trade prospects amid the conflict. “We can also facilitate parties to do other businesses here, and leapfrog them to other countries in Asean which have missed out from trade (so far),” he added.

As a trade-reliant economy, Malaysia’s exports accounted for close to 73% of its GDP last year — of which, China and the US were the two biggest trading partners.

Earlier in his speech, Darell said the local oil, gas and energy (OGE) sector is on track to achieve 5% annual growth until 2020.

He said the Entry Point Projects such as enhanced oil recovery, regional storage solutions and unlocking of premium gas demand were targeted to contribute towards the sector’s growth for the next few years.

“In order to achieve the projected gross national income of RM131.4 billion and create 52,300 additional jobs by 2020, the OGE sector is focused on three key areas — expanding the downstream sector, lifting the domestic production and pushing for renewable energy,” he said.

Currently, the OGE sector constitutes roughly 20% of the Malaysian economy.