Malaysian companies should diversify export markets

KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 (Bernama) — Malaysia needs to keep diversifying its export markets and depend less on traditional markets as a way to sustain the country’s growth momentum this year, says International Trade and Industry (MITI) Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.He said as times were getting tough especially with the crisis in the United States, Eurozone and some parts of East Asia, the ministry would intensify export promotion programmes in the Middle East and North African region (MENA).

“Today, we are working with the Middle East, which continues to be a very important market for us, especially in the Islamic financial and halal products segments,” he added.

On export prospects, Mukhriz said the region looked promising, with the United Arab Emirates importing RM12.86 billion from Malaysia last year followed by Saudi Arabia (RM3.97 billion) and Iran (RM3.21 billion).

“When there is a drop in demand from traditional markets such as the United States and Europe, the slack would be picked up by countries like China, Middle East and Japan,” he told reporters after officiating a seminar on the Jebel Ali Free Zone at the Malaysia International Halal Showcase 2012.

JAFZA is the only free zone in the world, which is located between two mega logistics enablers, namely Jebel Ali Port and Al Maktoum International Airport.

Meanwhile, JAFZA Deputy Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim Aljanahi said to date, there were 15 Malaysian companies operating under JAFZA in Dubai, including herbal energy drink developer Power Root and construction and engineering provider, Ranhill.

“JAFZA has an objective to set up incubation centres for Malaysian small-and-medium enterprises there.

“We are in talks with a number of Malaysian agencies to find the right party that will be entrusted in the business community, mandated to increase exports from Malaysia and provide ground support for the SMEs,” he added.

Ibrahim said they would like to see entrepreneurs from the region take advantage of emerging opportunities in the Middle East, through JAFZA.