KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 -- The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is intensifying its export promotion efforts amid the ongoing trade war between two giant economies, the United States and China.
Its chief executive officer Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa said the agency was diversifying the export markets to new areas such as Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and Africa while ASEAN would continue to be the main focus as the region constituted about 24 per cent of Malaysia's total trade.
"What is happening right now does not stop MATRADE from undertaking export promotion programmes, bringing Malaysian companies especially small and medium enterprises to new markets. We will continue to do that.
"In fact, in a situation like this, we also need to enhance further our export promotion programmes, diversifying into other products. We are very strong in products like furniture, halal and medical gloves," he told reporters after the launch of the Sustainable Action Values for Exporters (SAVE) here today.
He noted that China, the US and Japan also remained the largest trading partners for Malaysia.
"Malaysia is not spared from the impact of the US-China trade war. For the fact that when there is trade war, it does involve these two countries but it also impacts the global economy. As we all know, there has been a downward revision in economic growth and global trade this year, the latter from 2.6 per cent in April to 1.2 per cent recently.
"What it means here is that global demand is slowing down, obviously our trade is going down as well," said Wan Latiff.
Recently, the Department of Statistics reported that Malaysia's total trade stood at RM151.8 billion in August 2019, down by RM10.7 billion or 6.6 per cent as compared to August 2018.
Asked whether the downtrend in trade would persist towards the end of 2019, Wan Latiff said trade would likely depend on the outcome of the US-China trade war and noted that the country's export would maintain at RM1 trillion this year.
"This year, we expect to maintain the RM1 trillion of exports. We still have four months to go, we hope that this situation would not get worse," he added.