KUCHING: More Sarawak companies, particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs), should register with Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) to boost the state’s export market.
In making the call, Matrade chief executive officer Dato Dzulkifli Mahmud said as of now 323 companies from Sarawak engaged in automotive, machinery and appliances, palm oil products, building materials, shipbuilding, handicrafts, food and beverages businesses were registered with the agency.
He also said Sarawak companies constituted only two per cent of the total number of 16,701 SMEs registered with Matrade nationwide and Matrade was looking to increase the number of Sarawak companies registered with it by 10 per cent annually.
“Sarawak is unique in the sense that entrepreneurs here have various products to offer. From fashion and lifestyle – where designers can incorporate local motifs – to local delicacies such as the Sarawak Laksa and kek-lapis (layered cake), all these products can be value-added for export.
“The number of companies registered with Matrade is still small and we are looking to increase exporters from Sarawak. The spill-off effect includes job opportunities as well as increased trade opportunities with the local community due to the increase in usage of materials and other products,” he told a press conference after the opening of Matrade’s ‘Export Day Sarawak 2016’ programme at Imperial Hotel here yesterday.
The one-day event was declared open by Second Resource Planning and Environment Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
Held for the first time in the state, Export Day Sarawak aimed to encourage the business community in the state to deepen their engagement with Matrade in order to become global trade players through export.
In his speech earlier, Dzulkifli disclosed that in 2014, Malaysia was ranked 25th among the top trading countries worldwide and 23rd top exporting countries.
He also said Malaysia’s total trade last year increased by 1.2 per cent to RM1.47 trillion, from RM1.45 trillion in 2014.
“We are also encouraging women and youth entrepreneurs to develop their businesses. Matrade also focuses on organising various trade and capacity building programmes to help Sarawak companies,” he pointed out.
The event included talks on the global economic outlook, the role of e-commerce in international trade, trade talk on Matrade’s extensive range of exporters development programme (eTRADE, GoEx, Mid-Tier Companies Development Programme) and success story sharing sessions by companies from the state.
Over 200 participants, mostly SMEs, attended the event. During the programme, participants were given the opportunity to register with Matrade and seek export advisory services from the agency’s Integrated Centre for Export (ICE).
The ICE booth at the event featured export-relevant agencies such as Sirim Bhd, Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, Exim Bank, SME Bank, SME Corp and Federal Agriculture Marketing Agency (Fama) and Ministry of International Trade and Industry.
“We are extremely happy to bring Export Day to Sarawak and we will continue to carry out more similar activities in the state for years to come. I am confident that this event will greatly assist the Sarawak business community in raising their awareness on export,” he continued.
Matrade, tasked to boost the nation’s global exports, has over 46 trade offices around the world including one in Kuching.