JOHOR BARU: The 15th China Asean Expo (CAEXPO) will be held this year to promote the China-Asean Free Trade Agreement (Cafta) and business opportunities for local companies to enter the China market.
Together with the CAEXPO secretariat, Malaysia External Trade Development Cooperation (Matrade) ran promotional conference roadshows in Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Sarawak to promote and provide insights into the event.
Matrade China and South-East Asia section director Ong Yew Chee said 179 companies including six government agencies from Malaysia joined the initiative last year generating sales worth about RM405mil.
The total sales record by companies at the Malaysia Pavillion in CAEXPO increased by 23% last year compared to 2016, which was RM329.6mil, he said.
“Matrade has been coordinating Malaysia’s participation in CAEXPO since 2004 and throughout the past 14 years, the event has benefited many exporters.
“The expo has been credited as an effective platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from Asean countries to bolster their businesses into China,” he said at the roadshow at The Puteri Pacific Johor Baru hotel here.
Ong added that the government had reinstated the Market Development Grant effective January this year to encourage more Malaysian companies to go global and increase the nation’s export revenue.
“This allows SMEs to obtain a reimbursable matching grant on the approved cost of eligible promotional activities and I urge companies in Johor to leverage on the opportunities provided to expand their businesses,” he said.
CAEXPO secretariat vice-secretary general Yang Yan Yan said the event also facilitated the friendly bilateral engagement cooperation between Malaysia and China.
“China’s statistics show that the bilateral trade stood at USD$96.02bil (RM375.4bil) in 2017, an increase of 10.5% from the year earlier, and Malaysia is now the second largest trading partner of China within Asean.
“The support granted by the governments in both countries and active involvement of the business community as well as strong bilateral cooperation platforms such as CAEXPO resulted in the fast growth in trade cooperation between the two countries,” she said.
Yang added that CAEXPO had a unique co-sponsoring mechanism between China and 10 Asean member countries, which reflects common aspirations and interests of all countries involved.
CAEXPO is from Sept 12 to 15 in Nanning, China, with the theme “Jointly Building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Forging a China-Asean Community of Innovation”.