Gearing up for export recovery

Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa (pic): We still need to continue connecting with Malaysian firms with foreign buyers despite the pandemic.

PETALING JAYA: Times may be tough for business, but the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) is doing all it can to ensure that it helps boost the country’s exports.

“The core function of Matrade is to create export opportunities for Malaysian companies. During this time, it’s not for us to sit down and do nothing. We need to enhance our efforts and we need to remind our customers that Malaysia is here and ready to do business.

“It’s to keep that momentum going, build a strong foundation now so that our companies can grab onto opportunities immediately rather than start preparations later on, ” said chief executive officer Datuk Wan Latiff Wan Musa.

Matrade’s determination – and its continuous efforts since the first movement control order (MCO) in March – has bore fruit.

With travel restrictions still ongoing, a key part of its efforts is virtual business matching, or what it calls eBizMatch.

As of September, it has organised more than 670 such business meetings involving over 600 Malaysian companies and 449 foreign buyers, by capitalising on the presence of its trade commissioners in 46 offices abroad.

“We still need to continue connecting Malaysian firms with foreign buyers despite the pandemic, so we’re leveraging digital platforms to do this on a daily basis, ” he said.

Moreover, by capitalising its existing online services via MyExport, Matrade is also disseminating trade leads or enquiries it receives from foreign buyers, as well as sharing market reports and alerts.

Thus far, it has shared 2,334 trade leads to over 10,000 Malaysian companies registered with MyExport.

“Trade leads is another important piece of information, because trade leads mean interest that foreign buyers have in Malaysia and we need to address that interest by linking that with Malaysian companies, ” he said.

It has also launched the MyAPEC2020 exhibition in September, in conjunction with Malaysia being the host of APEC 2020, which will run until Dec 31.

The platform, which has components of exhibitions, business matching, business pitching and webinars, currently has close to 300 Malaysian exhibitors and has attracted over 6,000 registered viewers

He said: “The platform is working very well now, so what we’re doing right now is to intensify the schedule of business meetings between Malaysian companies and foreign buyers.”

Moreover, the Market Development Grant’s (MDG) scope has been expanded to include participation in virtual trade exhibitions, as well as to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in terms of shipping costs to alleviate their financial burden and boost exports at the same time.

“We provide this temporary facility – an incentive coverage of 30% of their shipping costs, up to RM15,000 per shipment for SMEs only – until the end of the year, to support their financial difficulties, ” he said.

Wan Latiff added that the MDG has assisted close to 1,200 companies and disbursed approximately RM20mil thus far, with new applications coming in on a daily basis.

As for Matrade coming back to support the Export Excellence Awards 2021, he noted that the goal is to work together with each party in the ecosystem playing their own role to drive export forward together.

“Export, export promotion and export initiatives are not standalone initiatives. We are all connected along the value chain, ” he said.

He added that this is the reason why Matrade also supports the initiative to promote domestic investment besides foreign direct investments.

“With domestic investment, it increases the capacity of our own companies to produce products and services. Once this is done, what it means is that the supply capacity of the country increases and we will be more ready to talk about export.

“We must admit that especially among SMEs, there’s still limited capacity to export when they receive orders, as they’re not able to fulfil orders because the order is too big. That’s why while our main function is to promote export, we also need the domestic capacity to be enhanced.”

EEA 2021 is organised by Star Media Group in partnership with Standard Chartered, with Matrade as patron.

It is audited by BDO. Submissions for the awards programme are open until July 31,2021. For more information please visit, contact Pei Wen at or call 03 7967 1388 ext 1857 (events department).

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