KUALA LUMPUR: Bilateral trade between Malaysia and China climbed to an all-new high in 2018, rising 13% to US$108.6bil (RM443bil) from US$96bil (RM392bil) in 2017, with the number of Chinese visitors into Malaysia increasing 29% to 2.94 million last year.
Malaysia-China Business Council chairman Tan Kok Wai said overall relations between Malaysia and China remain on the right track despite the controversies regarding some local large scale projects in the country.
“Today, under the circumstances of the ceaseless China-US trade war and the uncertainty of the global economic outlook, we must remain cautious yet optimistic and work diligently in a practical and realistic spirit,” he said in his speech at a Chinese New Year luncheon yesterday.
The event was jointly organised by the Malaysia-China Business Council, Bank Of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank Corp.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in his speech, noted that Malaysia’s economy remained resilient despite the China-US trade war.
“We are confident that our good ties with China will continue,” he said.
Malaysia’s economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2018 surpassed expectations, as the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.7% year-on-year.
This marks the economy’s first acceleration in growth over the last one year, following the continued slowdown in GDP growth after the third quarter of 2017 where it registered a 6.2% growth. In the fourth quarter of 2017, it grew by 5.9%.
The services sector grew 6.9% in the fourth quarter, while the manufacturing, mining and quarrying, as well as the construction sectors expanded by 4.7%, 0.5% and 2.6% respectively.
However, the agriculture sector continued to be a drag on the economy, contracting by 0.4%.
Private consumption grew 8.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018 and private investment was up 4.4%.
Meanwhile, public-sector consumption in the fourth quarter rose 4%.
However, public-sector investment continued to decline for the fourth consecutive quarter by 4.9%.
For full-year 2018, the Malaysian economy grew 4.7% on-year, with a GDP value of RM1.23 trillion at constant prices and RM1.43 trillion at current prices.
Tan meanwhile said 2019 marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and China.
He said last year’s total trade volume was an increase of 683-times compared with US$1.59bil (RM6.5bil) recorded 45 years ago.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, China was Malaysia’s biggest trading partner from January to November 2018.
China was also Malaysia’s largest bilateral trade partner during the 11-months period.