KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Malaysian companies are encouraged to explore emerging markets such as Ukraine in finding new buyers, International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong said.
He said Ukraine is one of Malaysia’s key trading partners in the Eastern European region with diplomatic relations established way back in 1991 to facilitate economic, trade and cultural relations between the two countries.
“The bilateral relations between both nations are further enhanced with the establishment of the Embassy of Malaysia in Kiev in September 2004,” he said in a statement today in conjunction with a webinar titled ‘Malaysia-Ukraine: New Markets New Opportunities (Post COVID-19)’ that was held recently.
He said Malaysia recorded a total trade value of RM1.51 billion with Ukraine last year, while this year for the period of January to August, total trade between the two countries increased by 11.4 per cent compared to the same period last year.
“Malaysia’s strategic location at the heart of ASEAN bodes well for Ukrainian enterprises to expand their businesses in the surrounding markets. As a gateway, Ukrainian companies will be able to reach out to more than 650 million population within ASEAN,” he said.
Lim said local small and medium enterprises have the capabilities and capacities to offer high value-add industrial support from design and development to even after-sales services to their Ukrainian counterparts.
He said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), through its trade promotion agency, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), would continue to link local companies with foreign buyers and unlock new opportunities for the country’s business communities in emerging markets such as Ukraine.
“Market diversification is crucial to help cushion some impact in the disruption of global supply chain activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He said industry players were also encouraged to embrace the current business climate by being more flexible, innovative and more receptive towards transformation as the ability to adapt and adopt to situational changes would be crucial for businesses to maintain their relevance in the global market.
“The government is committed to supporting local businesses to remain competitive and resilient by introducing policies and measures that support their economic recovery,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ukraine Foreign Deputy Minister Dmytro Senik acknowledged Malaysia as one of Asia’s leading trading nations with favourable geographic location and conducive business environment.
“Malaysia has all the necessary ingredients to become an entry point for Ukrainian businesses into ASEAN. Likewise, Ukraine can be a gateway for Malaysia into the bigger European market. We consider Malaysia as an important partner in the Southeast Asia region,” he said.
He said Malaysian companies have, besides manufactured goods, the expertise in design and development, facility management, repair and maintenance services for construction, energy and aviation industries.
Likewise, Ukraine as a global agricultural powerhouse could be an important food security contributor to Malaysia, he said.
He said grain exports from Ukraine to Malaysia in the first nine months of 2020 quadrupled, reaching US$65 million (RM275.3 million) while Malaysia’s major exports to Ukraine are palm oil and palm oil-based agriculture products, electrical and electronics as well as rubber products.
Moving forward, Lim said industry players from both countries could venture into more collaborations in high-value sectors such as IT fintech, aerospace, education, pharmaceutical research and development as well as medical tourism.
He said Malaysian companies might also want to leverage digital technology and e-commerce to reach out to Ukrainian buyers.
The initiatives that could facilitate this include the eBizMatch Programme and eTRADE Programme by MATRADE, he said.
The webinar organised by MATRADE in collaboration with the Embassy of Ukraine in Kuala Lumpur drew more than 350 participants from both countries.