Malaysia will manage trade surplus issue with the US: Mustapa


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is able to manage the trade surplus issue over the US, which is partly due to indirect trade, said Minister of International Trade & Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, and will look at ways to increase mutually beneficial trade with the US.

Mustapa today returned to Malaysia after a delegation meeting with US President Donald Trump in the US, followed by a trip to Japan.

“It wasn’t a fiery topic. Some people expected this to be discussed in detail (during the US trip) and some probably expected some tension between America and Malaysia. None of this happened. The discussion was cordial and there was no tension when we discussed the bilateral trade issue,” he told a press conference at the Mida Open Day 2017 here today.

He clarified that the discrepancies in numbers include indirect trade, as a part of the country’s trade goes to Singapore.

“Malaysian products that go to Singapore and end up in the US is counted as export by Malaysia. For Malaysia, that export is Singapore but for America, as the origin of the product is Malaysia, therefore it’s considered as Malaysian export. That’s one of the reasons for the difference,” said Mustapa.

He said Malaysia import a lot of E&E components from America.

Going forward, he said Malaysia will be talking to America on how to increase trade, which will be mutually beneficial Malaysia and America.

Mustapa said Malaysia’s trade surplus with over the US, according to US numbers, came up to about US$25 billion but he said there was no detailed discussion of the matter during the trip.

“It’s an issue that we can manage so we’ll be talking to our American friends on how we can further increase trade. We did explain to the president why this is so.”

As a matter of fact, he said a lot of exports come from the American companies. Of the 10 biggest companies that export, five are American companies. He said this is the nature of business, which is part of the global supply chain.

“As a country, we don’t look at the bilateral balances, we look at the global position. We will develop. The American Embassy will be looking at ways on how to increase mutually beneficial trade between Malaysia and America,” said Mustapa.

He said US is big in Malaysia, in oil & gas, finance, manufacturing, E&E and almost every sector in the Malaysian economy. US companies have provided no less than 200,000 jobs here.

“For that reason, we continue to engage with our American friends. America is an important country to Malaysia and the US recognises Malaysia as an important partner as well.”

Meanwhile he said the EPF already has US$8 billion of investments in US.

“Whatever the PM says is subject to the board’s approval. The board of EPF will decide how much they want to invest in America. EPF has been investing in the US since 2008, there’s nothing new, “ said Mustapa.

He said Malaysia is a small country and one has to invest overseas, just like what other companies are doing. Moreover, foreign investments have generated higher returns.

“EPF is one of the most successful provident funds in the world and its board will decide on where to invest.”

Read the original story on: TheSunDaily.My