The Road to Trade Winds ASEAN: Malaysia

February 14, 2023

Francis Peters is the Senior Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia

This is the third piece in a blog series about different markets that will be featured during Trade Winds 2023. 

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U.S. businesses looking for opportunities to export to Southeast Asia should strongly consider Malaysia. A country with a growing upper-middle income population, Malaysia has a well-established legal framework, a business-friendly environment, and a large English-speaking worker and consumer base. With an increasingly receptive market for sophisticated products and services, including in technology, manufacturing, and healthcare, Malaysia remains the 19th largest trading partner of the United States, and trade between the two countries has nearly doubled over the last decade, peaking at $72.9 billion in 2022.

If you are a U.S. exporter looking to explore new emerging sectors, Malaysia’s position as a regional hub for technology, logistics, and manufacturing offers tremendous potential. Furthermore, since Malaysian consumers have fully adopted digital payment transactions, those who export consumer goods have low-cost access to the country’s wide consumer base. Ecommerce is expected to grow throughout the country, reaching 56 percent of Malaysians by 2027, with fashion, electronics, and beauty/health products expected to generate the highest revenue.

Malaysia has also become a leading global destination for international patients in Asia. The Malaysian government’s focus on providing world-class quality healthcare is driving demand for healthcare technology, medical devices, and digital health products and services. Other economic sectors are also rapidly expanding. The country aspires to be a regional aerospace hub and an integral part of the global aerospace supply chain, focusing on aerospace digital technology, advanced manufacturing (“Industry 4.0”) ecosystems, and human capital development—all of which present opportunities to enterprising U.S. firms.

Malaysia welcomes small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which are generally perceived to be more flexible and result oriented in comparison to larger companies. For example, a California-based SME and U.S. Commercial Service client that manufactures silicone gripping aids for users with disabilities was able to partner with a Malaysian distributor and open up a new market for the company in 2022.

As a way to provide export opportunities for U.S companies in this region, we at the International Trade Administration (ITA) look forward to hosting a Trade Winds mission stop in Malaysia on March 16 as part of the Trade Winds Trade Mission and Business Forum. Although the business-to-business matchmaking meetings in Malaysia are at capacity, interested companies may still register for the Business Forum in Bangkok, which will take place from March 13-15, 2023. For more information, and to sign up, visit the Trade Winds ASEAN website.

Beyond Trade Winds, there are several other trade events for U.S. companies interested in exploring Malaysia. Please reach out to your local Commercial Service office for further information and opportunities to explore other markets across Southeast Asia. 

Other Upcoming Trade Events in Malaysia 

March 17, 2023: The U.S.-Malaysia Clean Tech Forum will be a platform to engage the Malaysian government and private sector in strengthening the clean economy through the implementation of U.S. technologies and expertise. Discussions will center on best practices in carbon mitigation and renewable energy, featuring experts from both countries. As this event is by invitation only, interested companies may contact the U.S. Commercial Service Malaysia to register.

May 23-27, 2023: The Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) is a maritime and aerospace exhibition that takes place once every two years in Langkawi, Malaysia. The last event took place in 2019. The show welcomes companies from the most diverse sectors of the aerospace and maritime industry, including space, civil, military, manufacturing technology, rotary, and MRO providers.

September 14, 2023: The Clinical Waste Trade Mission is an excellent opportunity for U.S. waste management exporters to explore market opportunities in Southeast Asia. The event will include matchmaking appointments, market briefings, policy-focused roundtables, site visits, and opportunities to build relationships with potential partners and representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Department of Environment.

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