KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 — Bilateral trade between Malaysia and China is expected to exceed US$100 billion (RM399.6 billion) this year, higher than the US$96 billion chalked up in 2017, said China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian.
He said bilateral trade between the two nations grew 14.7 per cent to US$42.7 billion in the first five months of this year compared with the same period last year.
“Imports from China to Malaysia accounted for US$18 billion, while exports to China stood at US$25 billion.
“If this momentum sustains, I am confident that this year, the bilateral trade volume between both countries will go beyond US$100 billion.
“With the presence of Alibaba in Malaysia, e-commerce and e-business will create more trade opportunities and this will add-on to the bilateral trade,” he told reporters after attending the launch of Alibaba Group’s new national office here today.
Also present were Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, and Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who earlier met with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at his office in Putrajaya.
Bai said trade was a very important element for the China-Malaysia relationship, and confidence of doing business with Malaysia remained strong, despite the review of several mega projects in the country, including that of the East Coast Railway Line.
He said RM1.2 billion in investments came from three Chinese companies, just a week after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th General Election.
“These (investments and Alibaba’s new office in the country) is an example of the confidence Chinese companies are showing in Malaysia’s economy and their support of the new government.
“There is an English proverb that says, ‘we shall not look at the tree, we should look at the forest’,” Bai added.
China was Malaysia’s largest trading partner for the ninth consecutive year (as of end-2017).
The republic is also the biggest buyer of Malaysia’s palm oil and palm oil-related products, as well as durians! — Bernama