By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
MALAYSIA plans to increase the exports of US tariff goods to China as a strategy to cushion the impact of the global trade dispute.
Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) deputy CEO Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa (picture) said the task force, established by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to look into the trade dispute, has identified some of the potential goods that could be brought forward.
“After MITI had analysed the dispute, filling in the gap between the US and China could be the best way to go.
“We will be increasing the exports of certain products that China is importing less from the US and vice versa for the US, which involve components or finished products,” he said at a press conference on the Malaysia Buyer Service Centre in Yiwu, China, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Wan Latiff said Malaysia has been marginally affected by the global trade dispute amid Malaysia’s heavy reliance on electrical and electronic (E&E) exports to China.
“We have not seen much impact yet, but we do not dismiss the possibility of a slowdown of E&E exports in the future as we play a huge role in the global supply chain.
“China has a total trade of US$517 billion (RM2.15 trillion), while its trade surplus with the US stood at more than US$300 billion — we believe a major chunk of it is E&E. However, up to August, our trade has been doing well with a 17.6% growth in E&E exports to China,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wan Latiff said Matrade has collaborated with the Yiwu Bureau of Commerce to ease Malaysia’s imports and exports, and provide access to the republic.
“As we want to increase exports to China, Malaysia needs to have a stronger presence in the country, as well as in the US, although we are not doing as much there as we do in China due the distance and cost factors.
“Yiwu is already an established region with a good connectivity to the Silk Road and the rest of the world, while serving a direct railing system that goes out to the European region,” he said.
According to Matrade, Yiwu holds one of the largest wholesale markets with 500,000 foreign merchants from more than 100 countries sourcing for products each year.
Yiwu has been exporting wholesale products to more than 200 countries with daily exports reaching up to 800 containers. Its exports volume reached US$33.66 billion in 2018.
In 2017, Malaysia’s total trade with China rose 20.7% to RM290 billion from RM240.71 billion in 2016, while the exports value stood at RM126.15 billion and imports at RM164.5 billion.
In the first eight months of 2018, trade with China expanded 9.6% to RM206.19 billion, while exports grew 11% to RM89.31 billion supported by E&E products, chemicals products, as well as optical and scientific equipment.