Monday, 17 July 2017

(The Star) Boosting exports

Small businesses have been pushed to look beyond Malaysia, particularly Asean, to grow their market.

And efforts such as the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015 have helped increase the country’s exports to the region as more non-tariff barriers are eliminated.

Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade) Asean unit director Raja Badrulnizam Raja Kamalzaman (pic) notes that Malaysia’s export to Asean increased 5.4% to RM230.93bil in 2016 while trade to the region rose 0.4% to RM42.6bil.

Not informed: SMEs need more understanding on the challenges in the Asean market, says Raja Badrulnizam.

Some of the issues faced by SMEs in going abroad, he says, is meeting certification standards, the lack of understanding of the international market and lack of networks to expand.

“Asean governments have been working together to formulate strategies to increase exports of services, especially for SMEs,” he says, adding that this gives small businesses a bigger opportunity to penetrate the global market.

He also notes that there is a SME Masterplan under the AEC to integrate small businesses in the region and to encourage them to tap each others expertise and network to grow.

To boost SMEs’ interest in export and to provide them with a platform to get practical advice from trade experts, Matrade, together with PanPages Bhd, will be organising the SME Export Day on Aug 9 at Perdana Hall, MITI Tower.

The event would offer the most complete guide on exports to aspiring exporters and Malaysian SMEs who are planning to expand their businesses globally. SMEs will be getting insights from government agencies, freight forwarders, legal firms, export consultants and banks, among others.

“About 1,000 decision-makers from export-ready SMEs are expected to attend the event,” says Raja Badrulnizam.

Meanwhile PanPages business community director CK Lim notes that 95% of its Malaysian customers are currently only focused on doing local business.

“We are here to offer help. We want to encourage them to increase their exports. This really is the right time for SMEs to export,” he says.