Malaysia shipped US$200 billion worth of products around the globe in 2015. That figure represents roughly 1.1% of overall global exports estimated at $18.686 trillion.
From a continental perspective, 70.5% of Malaysia’s total exports by value in 2015 were delivered to other Asian trade partners.
European importers purchased 10.8% of Malaysian shipments while 10.6% worth arrived in North America.
At 2.6%, a much smaller portion of Malaysian exports were bought by African importers.
Malaysia’s Top Import Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Malaysia’s top import partners, countries that imported the most Malaysian shipments by dollar value during 2015. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Malaysian exports.
- Singapore: US$27.8 billion (13.9% of total Malaysian exports)
- China: $26.0 billion (13.0%)
- Japan: $19.0 billion (9.5%)
- United States: $18.9 billion (9.4%)
- Thailand: $11.4 billion (5.7%)
- Hong Kong: $9.5 billion (4.7%)
- India: $8.1 billion (4.1%)
- Indonesia: $7.5 billion (3.7%)
- Australia: $7.2 billion (3.6%)
- South Korea: $6.5 billion (3.2%)
- Taiwan: $6.1 billion (3.0%)
- Netherlands: $6.0 billion (3.0%)
- Germany: $5.0 billion (2.5%)
- Vietnam: $4.5 billion (2.2%)
- Philippines: $3.4 billion (1.7%)
Over four-fifths (83.4%) of Malaysian exports in 2015 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Only three of these top countries increased their Malaysian imports from 2011 to 2015: Vietnam (up in value by 16.6%), Indonesia (up by 9.9%) and the United States (up by a tepid 0.2%).
Leading the decliners was Japan (down in value by -27.3%), South Korea (down -23.2%) and Taiwan (down -18.1%)
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export countrydoesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
In 2015, Malaysia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- China: -US$7.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2015)
- Taiwan: -$3.3 billion
- Switzerland: -$1.7 billion
- South Korea: -$1.5 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$1.1 billion
- Germany: -$987.9 million
- Brazil: -$917.8 million
- Argentina: -$900.5 million
- France: -$749.0 million
- Kuwait: -$581.1 million
Among Malaysia’s import partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Malaysian deficits with Kuwait (up 160.0%), Taiwan (up 131.5%) and Switzerland (up 50.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Malaysia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Malaysia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
In 2015, Malaysia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- Singapore: US$6.8 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2015)
- Hong Kong: $6.5 billion
- Japan: $5.2 billion
- United States: $4.7 billion
- India: $4.2 billion
- Netherlands: $3.7 billion
- Australia: $2.7 billion
- Philippines: $1.7 billion
- Mexico: $1.2 billion
- Bangladesh: $854.1 million
Among Malaysia’s import partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Malaysian surpluses with United States (up 530.6%), Singapore (up 40.3%) and Hong Kong (up 13.0%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Malaysia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Malaysia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Malaysian Import Partners
Seventeen Malaysian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. Below is a sample of the major Malaysian companies that Forbes included:
- Sime Darby (rubber, industrial/energy products)
- Axiata (communications equipment)
- Petronas Chemicals (specialized chemicals)
- MISC (shipping company)
- Petronas Dagangan (oil, gas)
- IOI Group (food processing)
Wikipedia lists some other large international trade players for Malaysia:
- R1 International Malaysia SDN BHD (latex, transmission belts, natural rubber in smoked sheets)
- Ly Furniture SDN BHD (furniture, furniture parts)
- Hup Chong Furniture SDN BHD (bedroom furniture, beddings, miscellaneous wooden furniture)
- POS Malaysia Berhad (paper bags, envelopes)
See also Malaysia’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Malaysian Import Products, Malaysia’s Top 10 Imports and Malaysia’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 12, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 12, 2016
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 12, 2016
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Malaysia. Accessed on March 12, 2016
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 12, 2016