BUDGET 2018 : Matrade optimistic measures will help boost participation of Malaysian companies in international trade

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) is optimistic Budget 2018 measures will help increase participation of Malaysian companies in international trade and strengthen Malaysia's external trade performance.

The budget of RM150 million allocated for Matrade, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and SME Corp will be channeled to enhance companies' market expansion through export promotion activities including for the Market Development Grant (MDG).

These export promotion activities will be focused in key markets where Malaysia has free trade agreements, and high demand for Malaysian exports especially in sectors such as furniture, electrical & electronics, information, communication and technology (ICT), oil and gas, food & beverage (f&b), construction and others.

It said in providing financial support for Malaysian companies, RM200 million of credit facility for export will be provided by EXIM Bank to local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and RM1 billion is allocated for credit insurance for companies.

The loan facility amounting to RM100 million with 70% government surety to encourage automation among the local furniture companies will definitely boost production for export, Matrade said.

In addition, the budget will also be utilised to enhance the development of Malaysian companies through programmes such as Go-Ex, Bumiputera, Women and Youth Exporters Development Programme (BWYEDP), Mid-Tier Companies Development Programme (MTCDP) and eTRADE programme.

"It is imperative that the Malaysian exporters community continue to receive strong support from the Malaysian Government through both export promotion and exporters development activities. The Budget announced today will support MATRADE's continuous efforts in strengthening
Malaysia's trade balance," said Matrade CEO Dr. Mohd Shahreen Zainooreen Madros.

He added that support to ramp up export-based programmes will ensure that Malaysia sustains its competitiveness globally . Exports currently share 67.7% of Gross Domestic Product.

Matrade's initiatives will also be complemented by zero-cost programmes organised in collaboration between Matrade and other agencies, private sector, business chambers, business councils and trade associations.

Matrade, as Malaysia's only trade promotion agency under Ministry of International Trade and Industry, said it will continue adopting smart partnerships so it can facilitate more Malaysian businesses to venture abroad without depending on budget allocation.

In an effort to encourage export among beginner-level and mid-level SMEs, strong emphasis will be put into promoting market access through digital platform by maximizing the potential of the eTRADE Programme.

The programme is designed to accelerate Malaysian exporters' market access by getting them onboard leading global eMarketplaces such as Alibaba.com, eBay.com, Amazon.com, TradeIndia.com, Aladdin.com. and Matahari.com.

As for encouraging more export sales, Matrade aims to build up industry's export strength in high-value sectors such as aerospace, petrochemical, automotive parts & components, electric and electronics, information communication technology (ICT), medical tourism and construction services through policy intervention developed by the National Export Council chaired by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

The budget will also lead to more export promotion programmes overseas that will be coordinated by Matrade's 47 trade offices in major cities around the world.

Moving forward, Matrade said it will continue to develop strategies that take into consideration the change of global economic landscape in maintaining Malaysia's healthy trade growth. The strategies will be based on opportunities gained through digitalisation, Industry 4.0, Big Data and technological advancement.

"In embracing 2018, Matrade encourages more players from service oriented and high-technology industries such as aerospace, creative sector and engineering services to internationalise its business. This will be the determinant that diversifies Malaysia's capability, beyond traditional industries such as food & beverages," Shahreen said.