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Matrade: Palm oil dispute not spilling over onto other exports to EU

The trade issue between Malaysia and the European Union over palm oil will not affect other forms of exports to the bloc, says the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).

Its CEO Wan Latiff Wan Musa said electrical and electronics exports to the EU have remained steady.

“The only export that is affected is palm oil, and other sectors so far have not shown any negative effect,” he said at a press conference today on the upcoming International Sourcing Programme (INSP) at Semicon Southeast Asia.

According to Matrade data, trade with the EU in February 2019 decreased by 5.7 percent year-on-year to RM13.35 billion, or 10.9 percent of Malaysia’s total trade.

Exports to the EU recorded a growth of 3.7 percent to RM7.68 billion, attributable to higher exports of manufactured goods, primarily electrical and electronics products, metals, machinery, equipment and parts, as well as palm oil-based manufactured products.

From the overall trade, compared with February last year, exports of electrical and electronics products increased by 4.9 percent to RM25.81 billion, which constitutes 38.8 percent of total exports.

“Among the top 10 EU markets which accounted for 89.7 percent of Malaysia’s total exports to the bloc were Spain, which recorded an increase of 78.4 percent, Ireland (180.1 percent), Italy (28.2 percent), Germany (1.1 percent), France (3.6 percent) and the Czech Republic (2.5 percent),” he said.

Wan Latiff added that Malaysia’s strength in the electrical and electronics sector, especially as the region’s top player, is expected to grow at a steady pace despite the global slowdown, with the adoption of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0.

“I believe that we will be able to have a stronger footprint in the industry and the E&E sector will continue to play an important role in Malaysia’s economy.

“By 2020, the industry is expected to generate an additional gross national income of RM53.4 billion and create 157,000 new jobs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Semi Southeast Asia president Ng Kai Fai said despite a softening in the global market, the local electrical and electronics sector’s revenue is expected to reach RM490 billion this year compared with RM470 billion last year.

“As the industry continues to grow as technology becomes more advanced from time to time, industry players need to upskill themselves and adopt the latest technology to capture market share,” he said.

INSP, a business matching initiative by Matrade, will also be conducted during Semicon Southeast Asia. To be held on May 8, it will be attended by 18 foreign buyers from 10 countries and is expected to capture RM150 million worth of sales.

Semicon, to be held from May 7-9 at Mitec, will be attended by buyers and 9,000 delegates from China, South Korea, Singapore, the United States as well as the United Arab Emirates.

- Bernama

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