February 14, 2006 20:00 PM
Msia's 2005 Trade With Asean Expands 13.8 Pct To RM246.19 Bln
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- Malaysia's strongest growth in trade last year was recorded with Asean countries, where it grew 13.8 percent to RM246.19 billion, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, said Tuesday.
The growth was attributed to the 15.4 percent growth in exports to RM139.21 billion and a 11.6 percent growth in imports to RM106.98 billion, she told a press conference, here Tuesday.
Asean accounted for 26.1 percent of the country's total exports last year from a 25.1 percent share in 2004.
"Growth in exports in Asean has been maintained at a relatively high level," she said.
Since 2002, exports have been growing at an average annual rate of 13.6 percent.
Singapore was Malaysia's largest trading partner, with exports to the island-republic rising 15.5 percent to RM83.3 billion, exports to Thailand increased 25.1 percent to RM28.7 billion while exports to Indonesia was up 7.7 percent to RM12.6 billion.
Rafidah said the major import sources were Singapore (RM50.83 billion), Thailand (RM22.89 billion), Indonesia (RM16.57 billion) and the Philippines (RM12.19 billion).
These countries accounted for 95.8 percent of Malaysia's imports from Asean.
Exports to the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam), also expanded. Collectively, exports to these countries rose 10.1 percent to RM5.8 billion last year.
In 2005, Malaysia's exports under the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (Cept) scheme -- the implementing mechanism for the Asean Free Trade Area -- rose 28.4 percent to RM11.1 billion.
Its exports under Cept were mainly to Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Electronic and electrical products remained as the major contributor to total exports to Asean countries accounting for a 42.9 percent share. Exports of these products increased by 7.2 percent to RM59.69 billion.
Good news, but still plenty of room for improvement. Looking at the CLMV countries particularly, it seems Malaysia has barely scratched the surface on trade with Vietnam.