Govt denies being a 'trade cheat', to review all bilateral trade activities

KUALA LUMPUR: The government has denied being a "trade cheat" and is taking steps to review all bilateral trade activities, particularly with the United States (US).

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia's international trade activities were being conducted in a free and fair manner, while refuting President Donald Trump's labelling of the country as a "trade cheat".

He said the government had never manipulated currency or provided assistance that was against international laws, including that of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

However, in the face of the accusations hurled, Mustapa said his ministry would review all bilateral trade activities as stated earlier.

"Trade figures show that we have a surplus with the US of around US$6 billion. But the figure stated by the US shows it exceeding this amount.

"From the aspect of trade, we are confident that our policies follow the standard international practices, including those determined by the WTO," he added.

He told reporters this after a panel discussion on Malaysia-Britain "Partners in a Post-Brexit World" here, today.

Malaysia is among the 16 countries labelled as "trade cheats' by Trump in a recent statement and attributed this to be the reason for the US facing a trade deficit of almost US$50 billion.

The other countries include China, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Vietnam, Itali, South Korea, India, Thailand, France, Switzerland, Taiwan, Indonesia and Canada.

Meanwhile, touching on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's visit to India, Mustapa said his ministry and the Transport Ministry would ensure that all the memoranda of understanding signed are implemented according to plan.

"Bilateral relations between Malaysia-India is already strong, and the Prime Minister's visit was very successful (from the aspect of trade and investments).

"We believe the visit will further enhance bilateral trade through the agreements signed by 32 parties and amounting to US$36 billion," he added.

Among the biggest MoUs signed between Malaysia and India is cooperation to develop the port and maritime city worth about US$32 billion at Pulau Carey, in Selangor. — Bernama