Minister rebuts US suspicion that Malaysia is 'trade cheat'
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Trade Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that the discrepancies were a result of differing classifications in how trade was measured, saying that Malaysia did not consider transit destinations as the country of source. â" Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, Nov 13 â" Official statistics show that Malaysiaâs exports to the US exceed imports from the same country by just US$5 billion (RM20.9 billion), said Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
In a written parliamentary reply, the international trade and industries minister also said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had conveyed this to US President Donald Trump previously.
âMalaysiaâs trade statistics recorded the US only has a trade deficit of US$5 billion for its business with Malaysia, wheres its own statistics shows a deficit of US$25 billion,â he said.
Mustapa added that the discrepancies were a result of differing classifications in how trade was measured, saying that Malaysia did not consider transit destinations as the country of source. The minister said this applied to both exports and imports between the two countries.
âFor example, electric and electronics goods which are exported to the US via Singapore, are classified as imported goods from Malaysia and not Singapore,â Mustapa said.
He also said the two c ountries used different terms for calculating trade value, with Malaysia preferring to apply âFree on Board (FOB)â versus the âCost, Insurance and Freight (CIF)â used by the US.
In March, AFP reported that Trump was seeking to identify the source of his countryâs reported US$50 billion deficit with trading partners.
AFP quoted US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross as saying that one order would result in analysts going âcountry by country, and product by product,â reporting back to Trump within 90 days.
The countries reportedly listed were: Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.