KUALA LUMPUR – Lack of financing capabilities to drive export initiatives and lack of access of market intelligence to identify the export strategies were among the key challenges faced by Malaysian exporters identified under the National Trade Blueprint.
The five-year blueprint also highlighted the domestic oriented mindset, lack of skilled talent to innovate and increase productivity, lack of innovation capacity and low utilisation of government initiatives as among the factors that are currently holding businesses back from looking to expand overseas.
“A number of issues were identified both from the supply and demand side.
“To leverage the full potential of Malaysia’s exports, challenges related to marketing, investments, productivity, logistics across the export value chain must be addressed,” according to the blueprint.
The blueprint, which was launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on October 25, aims to position Malaysia as a dynamic and pre-eminent trading nation.
This 2021-2025 blueprint dives deep into the key challenges and opportunities across the export ecosystem and outlines strategic priorities for the nation to grow its competitiveness.
Call To Action
Given the importance of exports for the overall Malaysian economy, the blueprint emphasised that ensuring growth in exports and strengthening Malaysia’s position as a leading exporter is crucial.
“As trade competitiveness declines, along with the challenges affecting exporters capacity and gaps within the export ecosystem, it is necessary for clear, actionable, targeted and impactful action plans to further cement Malaysia’s position as a competitive trading nation.
“As such, the National Trade Blueprint aims to recalibrate Malaysia’s export sector, setting it on a pathway to sustainable growth,” it said.
Moving forward, it is important for Malaysia to tackle immediate priorities, building upon its existing strengths and opportunities, and pro-actively and collaboratively form a solid foundation for the export ecosystem, improve efficiency, while keeping up with important trends.
The country also needs to build capacity, boost advantage by pursuing innovation, gain flexibility and resilience through diversification and market access, according to the blueprint.
8 Strategic Thrusts
The government has set eight strategic thrusts under the National Trade Blueprint to support the realisation of the 12th Malaysia Plan and its priority goals, as well as to facilitate the export development which will be implemented incrementally over a five-year period.
“The eight strategic thrusts mapped out in the blueprint will help enhance trade competitiveness, push for high value-added activities and increase visibility of Malaysia’s exports; an institutional mechanism that will lift the nation’s exports to a higher and more sustainable growth trajectory,” the blueprint said.
The thrusts are:
- Strengthening export ecosystem to remove business constraints and export bottlenecks in ensuring smooth exporting processes and creation of a robust ecosystem.
- Uplifting export capacity and capabilities to strengthen small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs) production capacity and capabilities to enter the global value chain.
- Elevating Malaysia’s strengths in export to extend support for existing sectors with high potential to groom new champions across the supply chain, thereby stimulating economy and promote export growth further.
- Harnessing growth through technology and e-commerce to strengthen bases of competitive advantage, work in partnership with industries and support them to scale up, increase productivity and internationalisation.
- Facilitating and widening market access to continuously increase engagement with key markets to improve market access.
- Promoting Malaysia’s brands and products to increase the visibility of national brands on regional and international export markets
- Driving growth through investment and export diversification to attract investments and diversifying its exports would be critical for Malaysia to manage the uncertainties in the global trade environment.
- Pursuing sustainability and innovation to encourage the adoption of sustainable good practices and standards
Expand JK-X Structure
To streamline the activities pertaining to the implementation of recommendations under the National Trade Blueprint, the government has proposed that the existing JK-X structure be expanded as a single platform that facilitates the various recommendations proposed, allows regular monitoring of the implementation and removal of bottlenecks, thereby achieving the intended goals of the blueprint.
“The blueprint needs to be effectively coordinated within several stakeholders from the public and private scene to ensure key issues are identified and addressed effectively. The committee should also leverage existing task force and sectoral blueprints to minimise overlap.
“With the involvement of industry players in the proposed governance structure, it could provide a forum for the exchange of views and sharing of information, identification of obstacles faced by the exporters and mechanisms to overcome them, all of which ultimately supports the shared objective of sustained growth for Malaysian exports,” it said.
JK-X currently consists of the ministries and agencies involved in export promotions.
Its core functions, among others, are to evaluate and approve export promotion programmes and endorse budget proposals for submission to the Finance Ministry, evaluate outcomes of programmes undertaken as well as provide expert advice to elevate export competitiveness.
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