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Govt measures to cushion impact of financial crunch on industries
Nov '08
International Trade and Industry Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, announced that Government will implement full import duty exemption on raw materials and intermediate goods that are used for domestic manufacturing.

This move is expected to lessen the impact of international economic slowdown on manufacturers.

Tan Sri Yassin explained at a press conference, “These items are considered productive imports. The objective is to reduce the cost of doing business in the manufacturing and construction sectors."

Products under this policy include petrochemicals and chemicals, man-made textile materials and textile fabrics covered with polyvinyl chloride as well as machinery, among others.

Another important measure, issuance of automatic Manufacturing licenses, will be effective from December 1, 2008.

This measure has been taken so as to improve investment and facilitate industries, especially the SME sector, in times of global recession.

Experts appreciated the efforts made by the Government to support industries. They believe that these steps are precautionary since the impact of global recession is not yet clearly apparent.

For the January-September 2008 period, Malaysia's total trade grew by 12.8 percent to RM915.4 billion compared with RM811.38 billion in the corresponding period of 2007, he said.

Despite softening of the global economy, exports expanded by 15.1 percent to RM62.31 billion, while imports grew by 11.9 percent to RM47.78 billion.

"Overall, a trade surplus of RM14.53 billion was registered in September 2008, making it the 131st consecutive month of trade surplus since November 1997," Tan Sri Yassin had informed recently.

He further assured that there will also be full utilisation of the Asean Free Trade Area (AFTA) and other free trade agreements (FTAs).

In order to achieve this, Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MITI), Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) and Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation (SMIDEC) have established dedicated FTA units to provide various services.

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