Saturday July 28, 2012
Trade with China set to soar
By NG BEI SHAN
PETALING JAYA: The International Trade and Industry Ministry has forecast that the Malaysia-China bilateral trade for 2012 will easily exceed the US$54.5bil (RM172.3bil) recorded last year.
The ministry's principal assistant director for China desk, Albert Ch'ng Chun Meng, said that bilateral trade hit US$23.6bil (RM74.6bil) in the January-May period this year.
“For the first five months, it had actually grown 12.6% (compared with the same period last year) and this is a healthy growth. At the rate we're going, we will be exceeding last year's number easily,” he said after the launch of the Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference (MCEC).
The growth would come from electrical and palm products, and machinery, he said.
According to Ch'ng, trades for 2011 favoured Malaysia while the January-May period 2012 favoured China marginally. “Growth is more important than trade balance. The more volume you have, the more beneficial. Our economic corridors provide many opportunities for investments.”
In response to China's increasing investments in Africa, he said Malaysia's advantages were geographical closeness and long-standing relationship with the nation.
He also said he did not see bilateral trades to be dampened by China's economic slowdown.
“Although China's economy has slowed down, its gross domestic product is relatively high compared with other countries. The business relationship with China is stronger than a lot of countries,” he explained.
As for investments in manufacturing, Ch'ng said China had invested US$300mil (RM948.7mil) in Malaysia last year.
He expected more trades to be sealed by the end of 2012.
MCEC is jointly organised by Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce and logistics provider TNT Express Worldwide (M) Sdn Bhd as a platform to further enhance bilateral trades between Malaysia and China.
MCEC organising chairman Joseph Lim said: “This is the right time for China to invest in Malaysia as a platform to enter the Asean market. We heard many positive comments on Malaysia's economy as well.”
So far, MCEC received more than 50 projects mainly from the construction and machinery sectors that intended to be matched.
Lim also expected the event to attract investors from China to pair with local partners for future joint ventures through its business matching session.
The organising committee visited four chambers in China and found that investors there were interested in property development, machinery and services industries here.
The conference, to be held on Sept 8 at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, is expected to attract more than 1,000 delegates from China, Malaysia and South-East Asia.