Malaysia-US trade growth will be slower this year

05 Apr 2018 / 22:52 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: The International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) has warned that Malaysia’s trade growth with the US in 2018 is not expected to be as robust as last year’s 16.3%, even as the American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce’s (Amcham) considers the impact of the trade issues between US and China too early to tell.
    Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed however qualified that he still expects good growth this year.
    “We don’t know how this (trade war) is going to play out because it’s too early to tell. We just have to wait and see whether it’s just part of a negotiation or an announcement.
    “As long as the world trade is ok and Trump don’t disrupt, this will continue to grow. If the world trade comes down, every company will have to adjust accordingly,” Amcham’s Malaysian American Electronics Industry chairman Datuk Wong Siew Hai told reporters after announcing the findings for the “Economic Impact Survey 2018” today. 
    Key findings of the survey of leading US companies operating in the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector, revealed that a majority of companies recorded strong revenue growth in 2017, and 78% expect that their company will increase its level of trade and investment in Malaysia over coming years.

    Total investment to date by US E&E companies exceeds RM42 billion, concentrated in Penang but also with a significant presence in Greater Kuala Lumpur. American E&E companies are integrated into the local economy, sourcing RM12 billion worth of goods and services locally in 2017.
    It brought a total trade-in goods surplus of at least RM19.5 billion, contributing at least 20% of Malaysia’s total international trade surplus for 2017. US E&E companies also created 80,000 jobs in Malaysia.
    According to trade statistics tabulated by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation, in January-February of 2018, trade with the US grew 1.8% year-on-year to RM24.45 billion.
    “About half of our trade with America is driven by E&E, that’s the biggest component,” Mustapa said after delivering his address at the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce Business Summit today.
    Malaysia’s export of E&E products make up RM343 billion or 36.7% of total exports in 2017.
    Mustapa said Malaysia will monitor the trade issues between US and China, as there will be some impact to the country, particularly in solar. China is Malaysia’s biggest trading partner while US is the third.

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