KUALA LUMPUR – Socio-Economic Research Centre (SERC) executive director Lee Heng Guie said it is too early to make a conclusion on the US’s move to investigate Malaysia for trade abuse, but it could mean anti-dumping duties or the filing of trade dispute on the country.
The US recently announced it is investigating 16 countries it has trade deficits with for trade abuse.
China, Japan, Germany, Mexico and Ireland are in the top five of the list of countries, which includes Malaysia.
“Yes, we enjoy a trade surplus with the US, but do we practise unfair trade against the US? That will be subject to a study by a commission of the US Commerce Department. We’re in the global supply chain. Whatever we export to the US, we also go through an intermediate channel (to export to the US),” he said.
Malaysia has consistently enjoyed trade surpluses with the US in the past years, with US$24.6 billion (RM109 billion) recorded in 2016, according to Lee. The US is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner.
Malaysia’s major exports to the US are electrical and electronic products, machinery, medical instruments, rubber gloves and furniture.
Lee said the Trump administration has started a 90-day study to investigate countries that have huge trade surpluses with the US. “The second stage will be the imposition of anti-dumping duties or even to file a trade dispute.”