KUCHING: Sarawak’s trade with its major trading partner, China, is increasing. It stood at RM18.91 billion last year and represented about 13.1 percent of the state’s total trade, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Of the amount, exports to China amounted to RM12.07 billion while imports at RM6.8 billion. The chief minister added Sarawak exported mainly Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and petroleum products, palm oil, timber and timber products and electrical components.
“In 2017, the value of trade between Sarawak and China was recorded at RM15.8 billion while its exports were valued at RM10.1 billion and imports amounted to RM5.7 billion,” he said.
Abang Johari said this in his speech text read by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian at the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (1949-2019) celebration at Imperial Hotel here on Monday night.
Sarawak and China, the chief minister pointed out, had signed numerous memoranda of understanding on investment, trade and economic cooperation, namely with Yunnan Province Department of Commerce, Fujian Province in recent years to strengthen business collaborations.
The most prominent one recently was with Xian LONGi Materials with an estimated investment of RM1.06 billion and also with Comtec Solar Systems Group Ltd with an estimated investment value of RM1.2 billion.
Abang Johari said the collaboration between Sarawak and China was not only in the area of economic and trade but also covered the field of tourism, culture and education. He named as examples, the Friendship City Agreement between Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) and Dali City as well as the Friendship City Agreements between Kuching South City Council (MBKS) and China’s cities, namely Zhanjiang, Kunming, Chongzhou, Zhengjiang, Quanzhou and just recently, Dongcheng. Apart from that, Sarawak-China collaboration also involved education cooperation between Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Yunnan University as well as literary cooperation between Pustaka Negeri Sarawak and Yunnan Provincial Library.
“The Chief Minister’s Department has also inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Huawei in assisting the state in digital training and infrastructure. “The relationship between China and Sarawak has existed for a long time and it is not a secret that the ties have enabled Sarawak to share in the economic prosperity of China,” he added.
Describing the Sarawak-China relationship as mutually-benefitting, Abang Johari said the state hoped to take advantage of e-commerce to enhance the marketing of local products to China, to have more cultural exchanges with China and to attract more tourists from China to Sarawak.