Malaysia aims to reduce trade imbalance with Vietnam

Dr Mahathir wants more imports by Malaysia from Vietnam to reduce imbalance


MALAYSIA is looking at reducing its trade imbalance with Vietnam, said Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture).

“Malaysia would like to see the trade grow in size, but with more imports by Malaysia from Vietnam in order to reduce the imbalance of trade between our two countries,” he said at a joint press conference with Vietnam’s PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi yesterday.

Dr Mahathir arrived in Hanoi on Monday night for a three-day official visit to the socialist republic at the invitation of his counterpart.

Dr Mahathir said during the visit, the leaders of both countries agreed to make use of Asean’s strength to grow their economies and also to tackle problems facing the region and the world.

From January to June 2019, Malaysia’s trade with Asean contracted by 1.9% to RM239.43 billion compared to the same period in 2018, according to data by the International Trade and Industry Ministry.

Exports to this region grew by 1.6% to RM139.39 billion, driven by higher exports of electrical and electronic products, iron and steel products, liquefied natural gas, petroleum condensates and other petroleum oil, as well as optical and scientific equipment.

Imports, however, were down by 6.4% to RM100.05 billion during the first half of the year.

The last time Dr Mahathir had embarked on a working visit to Vietnam was in 1998 to attend the Asean Summit, and both countries have established diplomatic ties since 1973.

In a separate event, Dr Mahathir advised Malaysians doing business around the world to be “clean and respected” businessmen and investors.

“We must maintain that (respected businessmen status) by doing business properly.

“We know one of the problems we face when doing business in other countries is corruption. The temptation to corrupt is very strong, but please avoid that.

“Malaysians must be clean businessmen who do not depend on corruption, who provide good service, are of good behaviour and friendly,” he said at a dialogue with Malaysian businessmen and investors from 27 companies operating in Vietnam.

Dr Mahathir, who is on an official visit to Vietnam, also urged Malaysian businessmen and investors operating overseas to contribute to Malaysia’s economy.

He added that rich and prosperous neighbours would be good trading partners of Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir urged Malaysian businessmen and investors to understand the way of doing things in the countries where they operate, as well as the culture, rules and regulations, and laws to expand business opportunities. — Bernama