THE Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Lim Ban Hong recently met with members of the Malaysian Furniture Council (MFC) led by its president Khoo Yeow Chong to learn more about the various issues encountered by the local furniture manufacturing industry during the pandemic. He also shared on the various incentive packages provided by the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) under Miti which can help the local furniture industry to expand into international markets.
Other participants in the meeting included Matthew Law, secretary-general of MFC and committee member Datuk Kenny Low. During the meeting, Khoo Yeow Chong expressed the hopes of MFC for assistance by Miti to open up in the emerging markets of Central Asia such as Turkey, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. He also highlighted the problems faced by local furniture manufacturers such as labour shortages.
In urging the local furniture manufacturers to focus on emerging markets which hold a huge potential in additional to the traditional European and American markets, Datuk Lim Ban Hong advised that MFC could make good use of the various incentive packages and service platforms in Matrade under Miti. For example, the online business matching (eBizMatch) is used to connect with international buyers, export products are matched with the vast international markets, and assist the country in increasing foreign exchange income and stimulating economic development.
According to data from Matrade, Malaysia’s furniture exports in 2020 amounted to RM12.864bil. The export value of furniture from January to July 2021 reached RM7.201bil, an increase of 13.2% compared with the same period last year.
Datuk Lim Ban Hong also encouraged local furniture manufacturers to make good use of various government preferential policies to carry out the digital transformation of Industry 4.0, accelerate automation of the industry, reduce dependence on traditional labour-intensive production methods, and enhance competitiveness and productivity.
DATUK LIM BAN HONG
International Trade & Industry Deputy Minister