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KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between Malaysia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries is expected to rise by 19% by the end of this year and by 25% next year, said International Trade and Industry (Miti) Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“Today, OIC countries’ share of global merchandise trade is still low. We are still trading with other countries (non-Islamic nations).

“Because of this, Malaysia has successfully signed a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with Turkey and Pakistan as a catalyst to boost bilateral trade between the Muslim nations,” he said.

He said Muslim nations had much to offer to the world, as they always had, from knowledge and resources to culture and products.

“And now, the Muslim world also has big opportunity in the halal economy and in trade and investment in halal goods and services.

“This opportunity should not be missed by OIC nations as many non-Islamic nations are already seeing the profit in this industry and becoming active in it,” he said after launching the OIC-Asia Trade and Economic Forum 2015 in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

He said the event was not just an opportunity to foster trade and development, but build and reinforce the ability and desire of Muslims globally to contribute to the economic well-being and growth.

Mustapa said Muslim nations had a lot of room to improve in terms of products and services to enable them to diversify into new markets.

“We would like to encourage more Muslim companies from OIC countries to come to Malaysia to set up business here.”

It was reported earlier that between January and May this year, Malaysia’s total trade with OIC countries was valued at US$15.55bil (RM66.9bil), down 19.7% from US$19.37bil (RM83.3bil) in the same period in 2014.

Total exports to OIC countries for the first five months of 2015 amounted to US$8.20bil (RM35.3bil), a drop of 20.5% from US$10.33bil (RM44.4bil) in the same period in 2014. - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 (Bernama) — The cement industry is expected to see reasonable growth in the next two to three years on the support from the major government infrastructure development projects.

Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, said the construction sector recorded between five and six per cent growth for the past few years.

“Although demand for high-end residential units had softened, the government is continuously pushing to spur construction in the form of affordable housing, the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development and Mass Rapid Transit projects, among others,” he told reporters at the 50th Anniversary of Cement and Concrete Association (C&CA) here Wednesday.

He said these projects were the major consumers of cement.

Mustapa said the prospects of the industry would continue to be good for cement and construction sector as a whole.

Meanwhile, C&CA Chairwoman, Datuk Yeoh Soo Keng, said the association hoped the government would focus on the development of concrete roads.

“They are competitive and suitable for rural and flood-prone areas,” she said.

Yeoh said the industry would like to see more government programmes regarding expansion of concrete roads.


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) –The Ministry of International Trade and Industry hopes the Budget 2016 will help boost economic growth and trade figures.

This is amid the uncertainty in the global market due to the fall in the oil prices and weakening of the ringgit, said its Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The budget will be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Parliament tomorrow.

Mustapa was also hopeful that more focus would be given to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) - the backbone of the country’s economy - in the budget with new plans and strategies to enhance exports.

Mustapa said this was also due to the competition the country is facing.

He told reporters this during a briefing and memorandum of understanding signing ceremony.

In an effort to encourage more Malaysian food manufacturers obtain the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)certification, the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) is collaborating with SIRIM QAS International Sdn Bhd and SME Bank to introduce the HACCP Certification Assistance Programme.

The joint-collaboration will see Matrade providing financial assistance to companies in the application of the HACCP, with SIRIM QAS International as the certifying body, and SME Bank offering financing facilities for companies to upgrade or renovate their factories.

The project is targeting at least 30 companies to be HACCP-certified within a six month period and each will be given funding of up to RM20,000.

According to Mustapa, the collaboration will enhance the capability of Malaysian food manufacturers, particularly SMEs, in the global market.

“The initiative also helps their competitiveness and create greater market access. The HACCP will not only ensure food safety, but improve product marketability and heighten acceptance globally too,” he said.

For the first eight months of 2015, exports were valued at RM498.8 billion, of which that of processed food was RM11.25 billion or 2.3 per cent of the total.

Over the last five years (2010-2014) exports of processed food increased from RM11.85 billion to RM16.56 billion.


KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 (Bernama) — Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) expects total trade between Malaysia and China to increase to US$110 billion (US$1 = RM4.17) this year from US$102 billion last year.

Matrade Chief Executive Officer Datuk Dzulkifli Mahmud said the increase would be driven by a commitment made by both nations to increase two-way trade to US$160 billion by 2017.

“Despite the current economic challenges, China remains our important trading partner whereby during the first eight months of this year, our trade with China increased 9.6 per cent to RM147.55 billion.

“Our exports to China rose 9.3 per cent to RM65.17 billion while imports rose 9.8 per cent to RM82.18 billion,” he told a press conference after officiating the “Leveraging on Renminbi to Enhance Exports to China” seminar here Monday.

The half-day seminar was organised by Matrade as part of its effort to encourage local companies to use renminbi in their trade with China due to its stable and consistent nature and mitigate foreign exchange losses.

Dzulkifli said despite the benefits of using the currency, only less than five per cent of trade between Malaysia and China were transacted in renminbi as traders were still used to currencies like the US dollar and Euro.

“We hope the usage of the renminbi will increase with programmes like this because the reliance on the US dollar has its disadvantages due to foreign exchange fluctuations,” he said.

On the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which has yet to be signed and passed in Parliament, Dzulkifli said it would be a good platform for a trading nation like Malaysia.

He said the TPPA not only would expand the businesses of local companies abroad, but also benefit companies which import raw materials before exporting their end products.

Moody’s Investors Service, in a note today, said that the pact is credit positive for all 12 participating sovereigns, especially those in Asia.

Specifically for Malaysia, it said palm oil, rubber and electronics exporters would see substantial value from the trade deal.


KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 (Bernama) — The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) needs to build an ecosystem that supports enterprise creation and improves the environment for innovation, as well as facilitates financial inclusion for start-ups, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ahmad Maslan said.

He said Malaysia recognises the vital role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in bringing new ideas to the market and fostering innovation.

Ahmad highlighted Malaysia’s initiatives for modernisation and automation of MSMEs, including focusing on the Soft Loan Scheme for Automation & Modernisation (SLSAM).

SLSAM seeks to encourage MSMEs in Malaysia to embrace automation and modernisation of their businesses.

“We further applaud the Philippines for putting the MSMEs at the forefront of its priorities this year, and we fully support the ‘APEC Iloilo Initiative’ which complements the ‘Boracay Action Agenda’ in promoting conducive policy, business and regulatory environments that foster the long-term growth of MSMEs.

“We recognise that local development plans and enterprise clusters also contribute greatly to enhancing productivity, innovation and inclusive growth,” he said in a statement.

Ahmad represented Malaysia at the 22nd APEC Small and Medium Enterprises Ministerial Meeting (SMEMM) on Sept 25 in the Philippines.

The SMEMM also announced that an online-based, interactive portal to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) promote collaboration linkages for businesses in the APCE member countries would be developed soon.

The portal would also improve mechanisms for knowledge sharing on trade facilitation, business support, partnerships and capacity building activities among the MSMEs.

MSMEs make up over 97 per cent of all enterprises and generate more than 70 per cent of all jobs in the APEC region.

APEC economies taking part in the SMEMM account for more than 76 per cent of Malaysia’s external trade and 54 per cent of foreign direct investment.

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