KUALA LUMPUR – China became Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the 11th consecutive year in 2019, with trade valued at RM316.6 billion, according to the Malaysia Trade Statistics Review (MTSR), as reported on Bernama.
In a statement on December 31, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said the report provided information on the current scenario of Malaysia’s trade with China, together with other statistical indicators in the DOSM.
Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the MTSR Volume II aims to emphasise Malaysia’s bilateral trade performance with its biggest partner, China.
“This report synthesis the trade performance of goods such as major exports and imports and trade composition, the impact of COVID-19 on Malaysia-China trade, direct investment between both countries and performance of the manufacturing sector and other related data,” he said.
He said China leapt to the fourth place of Malaysia’s largest trading partner in 2001 from the eighth place a year before and became the country’s largest trading partner since 2009.
“The two-way trade value between Malaysia and China reached RM316.6 billion in 2019 and constituted 17.2% of Malaysia’s trade,” he said.
Mohd Uzir said Malaysia received investment from China amounted to RM600 million and RM500 million in 2018 and 2019, respectively, while Malaysia’s investment flows to China stood at RM540 million in 2019 and RM500 million in 2018.
“Malaysia may enhance, as well as further streamline the foreign investment policy to facilitate business networks and strategic alliances between Malaysian companies with China companies and state-owned enterprises,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the COVID-19 pandemic impacted social and economic paradigms resulted from mitigation measures to halt the spread of the virus.
“Interestingly, the outbreak has boosted the demand for medical supplies by both countries that contributed to a significant increase in exports and imports of selected products between the countries,” he said.
He said exports of rubber gloves, for instance, recorded a tremendous growth of 123.3% for the first 10 months of 2020 and imports of face mask soared by 862.7%.
“In addition, Malaysia has signed the historic Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement with 14 other participating countries of RCEP, which is the largest free-trade agreement (FTA) in the world, on November 15, 2020.
“Thus, Malaysia should take this opportunity to further strengthen bilateral trade with China as both are members of RCEP,” he added.