PETALING JAYA: Trade between Malaysia and Taiwan is expected to grow 10% this year, from US$17.5 billion (RM78.39 billion) in 2017, to be driven mainly by the ICT industry, which is also Taiwan’s featured industry. In 2017, trade between the two countries grew 24.3%, compared with 2016. Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia representative James Chang Chi-ping said through all kinds of integrating opportunities such as Taiwan Excellence events and the annual Taiwan Expo, it hopes to introduce some of the greatest Taiwan companies to the Malaysian market. “Comparing to last year’s Taiwan Excellence, we see a growth in Taiwanese exhibitors participation by 50%. Through the platform (Taiwan Excellence) provided, we hope to engage both Malaysian and Taiwanese to explore collaboration opportunities to exchange techniques,” he told SunBiz in an email interview. In 2017, Malaysia’s exports to Taiwan grew 11.3% year-on-year to RM23.63 billion, of which Taiwan is ranked 14th among Malaysia’s export countries. Malaysia’s imports from Taiwan grew 30.9% to RM54.75 billion, and Taiwan is the country’s fifth largest importer. Malaysia was the seventh largest trading partner to Taiwan in 2017. “From the trade statistics, trade between the two countries is getting higher and higher and growing steadily every year, which is really a good sign for the current and further investments,” said Chang. He said regardless of the outcome of the general election, the Malaysian market is well equipped for Taiwanese investors and companies. It is the diversity of population that makes Malaysia (market) so unique, as the people embrace new and different ideas. On the US-China trade war and its impact on Taiwanese businesses, Chang said in today’s global economy, all businesses will be impacted by trade policies of major countries. However, Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy seeks to focus on Asean markets and Malaysia is one of the key countries under the New Southbound Policy. Taiwan External Trade Development Council (Taitra) had in April 2017 established a Taiwan Halal Centre to help Taiwanese businesses enter halal markets in New Southbound Policy countries, including Malaysia. To date, over 800 Taiwanese products have been certified halal by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim). In Taiwan, over 145 hotels and restaurant are certified halal by Jakim. Taiwan Excellence provides a platform for Taiwanese businesses to be promoted worldwide as a representation of Taiwan’s innovation and creativity. It also offers Malaysians to get first-hand experience on Taiwan’s products; and for Malaysian entrepreneurs to explore business and trading opportunities with Taiwan. Taiwan Excellence 2018, which will be held May 4-6 at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, will bring in products that interest Malaysians the most, based on last year’s feedback. This year’s Taiwan Excellence display will cover four main categories of products, which are ICT and gaming, home living, beauty, and sports. Established in 1993, the Taiwan Excellence Awards is a yearly award given out by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Taitra to encourage industries in Taiwan to upgrade and incorporate innovation and value into their products. Each year, eligible candidates are required to undergo a rigorous and stringent selection system that covers four major aspects – research & development, design, quality, and marketing, to identify outstanding products that offer innovative value. All products bearing the symbol of Taiwan Excellence serve as examples of the country’s domestic industries. The mark of Taiwan Excellence have come to symbolise the innovative values of Taiwanese products and is renowned worldwide for their excellence and quality.