KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is confident that US-China trade tension will not affect the country’s short-term trade volume.
This is after U.S. President Donald Trump's latest threat to raise tariffs on Chinese goods shocked financial markets and fueled worries that trade talks may be derailed.
"I dont think US-China tension will affect our trade in the short term," Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr. Ong Kian Ming said, adding that Malaysia’s trade figures in April this year likely to improve.
"We will wait and see what’s the actual policies announcement in terms of a tariff perspective from both the US and Chinese governments,”" he said at a press conference after launching the SemiCon Southeast Asia 2019, here, today.
He said although Malaysia’s trade in March experienced a slight drop by 0.3 per cent to RM153.73 billion year-on-year (YoY), the reduction figures were larger than in February, decreasing 7.2 per cent to RM122.15 billion YoY.
Dr. Ong said the current market reactions would be a short-term impact, citing that once the positive resolution is given, the market would be stabilised.
"However, nothing has been confirmed yet, although the market reacted to Donald Trump’s statement on the US plans to raise tariff.
“From a policy perspective, we hope that there still can be a positive resolution for both China and the U.S so that the trade war can be avoided,” he added.
Dr. Ong said Malaysia is highly dependent on US and China in terms of trade, and any negative outcomes from the trade deal between both countries would not be positive to Malaysia’s trade in a long-term.
“We will continue to work hard through agency such as Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and InvestKL Corp and Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) to attract high tech companies to Malaysia,” he said, adding that there are more opportunities for Malaysia to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the electrical and electronic (E&E) sector.
MIDA chief executive officer Datuk Azman Mahmud said the agency aims to reach about RM13 billion worth of approved investments in E&E sector from new and existing investors this year.
“The approved investments in the E&E sector by MIDA has increased from RM9.7 billion in 2017 to RM11.2 billion in 2018, which is an encouraging sign despite the slowing global technology cycle and global trade tension,” he said.
Azman said Malaysia would continue building on its strengths and capitalising on megatrends to move up the value chain, while promoting the country as a competitive destination for businesses to grow.
SemiCon is an annual gathering of the global electronics manufacturing supply chain, bringing together industry experts globally for critical insights into the semiconductor ecosystem.