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International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed says Malaysia's export sector has hit an 'extraordinary' 23.6 per cent growth between January and April 2017. — Reuters picInternational Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed says Malaysia's export sector has hit an 'extraordinary' 23.6 per cent growth between January and April 2017. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Putrajaya today mantained its outlook of a five per cent growth for the country's overall trade, adding that the nation is set for a better 2017.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia's export sector has also been doing “extraordinarily” well, hitting a 23.6 per cent growth between January and April this year.

“For export, our achievement in four months was very encouraging. 23.6 per cent in total trade increment, and truthfully, every months, for the first till the fourth, it was very good. Quite extraordinary, exceeding 20 per cent,” Mustapa said, adding that the biggest export item were electrics and electronics which make up 35 per cent of the export value.

“Our forecast remains at five per cent total growth in trade because of some geopolitical challenges, such as oil price ups and downs. Given all these uncertainties, I am maintaining a forecast of five per cent.”

Mustapa however said there is no guarantee that Malaysia's export sector growth would continue.

“There is no guarantee. that going forward, this will be sustained. I mean although we are confident that this will be a better year, reflected in the first quarter growth numbers, 5.67 for example, some research houses have already revised upwards both the GDP forecast, as well as trade forecast.

“But for us at Miti we are sticking with 5 per cent average growth. That is good in relative to the 1.5 per cent growth last year. Despite very good performance in the first four months, we are not revising upwards on the forecast of the five per cent growth because we believe that the environment continues to be uncertain, case in point is petrol prices,” he said at a press conference here, after launching the Miti Report 2016.

In terms of employment rate, Mustapa said that since the Economic Transformation Programme was launched, 2.3 million jobs have been created, against the projected figure of 3 million.

“So jobs are being created, and our unemployment rate remains low. Plus-minus, 3.5 per cent. We are at full employment,” he added.

In the summary of the Miti Report 2016, the ministry said that Malaysia enjoyed a trade surplus for 2016, after exports and imports rose 1.1 per cent to RMM785.93 billion and 1.9 per cent to RM698.66 billion respectively.

This resulted in a surplus of RM87.27 billion.

“Malaysia's total trade with Apec economies was RM1.139 trillion or 76.8 per cent of the total trade in 2016, while FTA partner countries accounted for 63.0 per cent for Malaysia's total trade.

Apec refers to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation while FTA refers to the Free Trade Agreement.

The report said that the aerospace industry meanwhile, generated an annual revenue of RM12.7 billion last year, and employed more than 21,000 workers.

“Apart from investment promotion and policymaking, Miti has been continuously engaging the industry players to further develop the aerospace industry,” the report added.

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