Sarawak Export Day in Aug for local enterprises

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) deputy chief executive officer (Exporters Development) Abu Bakar Yusof flanked by MATRADE Sarawak director Zamzuri Mohamed (left) and Norzulaila Mohd Dzafri, assistant manager of SME Export Development, Customised Programme, Transformation and Digital Trade, MATRADE.

KUCHING: Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) plans to organise a Sarawak Export Day tentatively in August this year to encourage more Sarawakian enterprises to delve into export business and also to provide the relevant information to support this.

Matrade deputy chief executive officer (Exporters Development) Abu Bakar Yusof said this would be the corporation’s main programme in Sarawak this year, aside from the ongoing programmes.

He said that this one-day programme, comprising various segments, would be a collaboration with the Sarawak government.

“Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said the state government will support it so that the benefits will reach as many entrepreneurs in Sarawak as possible,” he said in a session with the media here on Thursday (Jan 20).

He shared that their Matrade delegation had had a fruitful meeting with Awang Tengah, who is also International Trade and Investment Minister, on Wednesday (Jan 19).

Among the points discussed, he shared that Awang Tengah had recommended elements that Matrade should focus on during the Sarawak Export Day.

“He said one of the important components that we should have during Sarawak Export Day is compliance to international standards and market requirements abroad.

“For Sarawakian companies to gain market access overseas, they need to know the rules and regulations and the market requirements, because every region and country has a different set of requirements,” Abu Bakar said, noting that such sharing sessions would also need to be held on a regular basis.

He said Matrade would also incorporate financing options, including its collaborations with financial institutions, into Sarawak Export Day so that participants would be more aware of the various platforms they could leverage on to grow their export business.

“Our entrepreneurs, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), always find it difficult in terms of financing, so currently Matrade has collaborated with many platforms and financial institutions, including Bank Islam and CIMB Bank,” he said.

He said these banks could provide financing for companies, with Matrade to recommend which companies are suitable for such funding.

“Aside from conventional financing, we also have alternative financing,” he added.

He said during their meeting, Awang Tengah had also stressed the need for Matrade to continue supporting entrepreneurs in Sarawak in beginning or expanding their export business.

“We also talked about how we can complement each other’s programmes. For instance, the Sarawak government also has plans to organise a boot camp in this regard, which will be a way for us to also conduct awareness programmes.

“He suggested that Matrade should come along to see how we can get involved and educate entrepreneurs in Sarawak on the importance of export business,” he said.

He explained that Matrade could guide entrepreneurs step-by-step on how to venture into export business and prepare themselves for export.

At the same time, Abu Bakar said one of the objectives of his visit here was in relation to Globepreneur – a recovery initiative introduced by the government last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to help local entrepreneurs revive their businesses and export.

“So far, we have four companies in Sarawak which have been selected to participate in our Globepreneur programme, and we are looking for more.

“We have our selection criteria, but we do hope there will be more entrepreneurs in Sarawak joining our Globepreneur programme, aside from our other programmes,” he said.

He said Matrade would work closely with the state government through the Ministry of International Trade and Investment as well as with the private sector and associations through Sarawak Business Federation (SBF).

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