Malaysian minister highlights potential of India-Malaysia rubber sector trade

Malaysian minister highlights potential of India-Malaysia rubber sector trade

Malaysia’s Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok on Friday highlighted the significant potential for growth in India-Malaysia trade in the rubber sector due to India’s rapidly expanding healthcare sector.

Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, the minister said trade in rubber products between India and Malaysia has increased remarkably over the years.

Exports of Malaysian rubber products to India recorded an average growth of 16.7 per cent per annum from US$20.1 million in 2009 to US$80.8 million in 2018.

Similarly, Malaysia’s imports in the same category from India have increased from US$4.1 million in 2009 to US$29.7 million in 2018.

These trade figures indicate that India is an important market for Malaysian rubber products due to its growing healthcare sector, the minister said in a keynote address at the seminar on “Managing Infection Control — Selecting the Right Gloves”, organised by the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council (MREPC).

“As the world’s largest manufacturer and exporter of high-quality medical gloves, we have garnered solid knowledge and experience in producing medical gloves. Apart from promoting gloves, we also want to reach out to healthcare workers and share our knowledge on the importance of proper selection and usage of medical gloves to control the transmission of infectious diseases,” the minister said.

Malaysia’s main rubber exports to India comprise gloves, hoses, latex threads, cables, rubber catheters, footwear, and rubber automotive components, while India’s key exports to Malaysia include tyres, foam products, hoses, gloves, catheters and rubber balls.

Malaysia’s annual trade with India has reached US$15 billion, having received a boost from a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and a regional FTA with India through ASEAN.

“The FTAs provide opportunities for greater trade between India and Malaysia as well as with ASEAN. Malaysia’s total exports to India grew 5.1 per cent to US$8.8 billion while exports from India to Malaysia touched US$6.5 billion in 2018,” the Malaysian minister pointed out.

India’s large-scale developments in the hospital sector have attracted further interest from Malaysian manufacturers.

The healthcare market in India is expected to reach US$372 billion by 2022 while the hospital industry is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 per cent from US$61.8 billion in 2017 to US$132.8 billion in 2022.

The healthcare demand is driven by factors such as a large population, economic growth, and urbanisation.

“In line with the rapid development of the healthcare sector, the demand for medical equipment and devices will also escalate,” the Malaysian minister said.

She sought greater cooperation between Malaysia and India in educating healthcare workers on the proper selection and usage of medical gloves.

“Contact between patients who are infected or carriers of infections and healthcare workers occur frequently in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Under these conditions, preventing infections is important to help patients recover quickly as well as to protect medical workers from harmful diseases. The first line of defence against the spread of infections is proper hand hygiene combined with the use of medical gloves,” the minister said.

“Malaysia can help contribute to India’s efforts to raise awareness among healthcare workers on the proper usage of medical gloves. Thus I hope to see continuous collaboration between India and Malaysia in organising such educational seminars,” she said.

The seminar was attended by 150 people, including representatives of rubber product companies, healthcare professionals, and business consultants from the two countries.

Those present included Datuk Hidayat Abdul Hamid, Malaysian High Commissioner to India, Chik Chan Chee, chairman of the Malaysian Rubber Export Promotion Council, and Brandon Chan Siew Hon, acting chief executive officer of the MREPC.

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