JOHOR BARU: The current low prices of crude oil is not expected to adversely affect the country’s overall trade this year as the Government has put in place other initiatives to boost trade.
Among which, said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri, were diversification and concentrating on other high-impact industries, including electrical and electronics, chemical products, palm oil, machinery, pharmaceutical, optical and scientific equipment.
“Exports of Malaysia’s petroleum products have been affected, but I do not see it as worrying because we have other exports and are also opening up new markets, including in Africa.
“In fact, our exports for March this year had increased compared with the same period last year. I am confident that we will maintain our trade surplus this year,” he told reporters after attending the launch of an exporters’ forum organised by the Malaysia External Development Corp here yesterday.
Hamim stressed that petroleum products constituted less than 10% of the country’s annual trade.
He added that trade in 2014 had grown by 5.9% to RM1.45 trillion compared with RM1.37 trillion in 2013.
He said Asean remained the country’s largest trading partner, with RM14.54bil, followed by the European Union (RM8.35bil), the United States (RM8.01bil), Australia (RM7.48bil) and Hong Kong (RM6.05bil).
Meanwhile, on developments on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement with the United States, he said no new deadline had been set and that negotiations were still ongoing.
“In fact, the deadline has lapsed but negotiations continue,” he said, adding that the ministry was taking directives from the Cabinet and would continue to be firm on several issues, including on medicine, tobacco, patents and ownership.