LAST January, Donald Trump became US President and he immediately protected the American people and its economy by introducing several protectionist measures.
At first many countries including Malaysia was worried.
However, these protectionist measures could in the end benefit Malaysia.
The rakyat may also benefit. Let us take a look at how.
What are protectionist measures?
Protectionist measures mean a certain country will impose several rules to protect its economy.
Every country in the world will do this so that its people will not lose jobs and the country will not lose money.
As an example, Malaysia also protected its economy such as protecting the Proton car.
When it was first launched in the 1980’s, the government slapped a high tax to imported cars such as Toyota and BMW.
This is to protect Proton, the government as well as the rakyat who works at Proton.
This is a protectionist measure and the Americans will also protect its companies such as Ford and Apple.
The Indonesians would also protect its palm oil and the Indians will also protect its cotton industry.
This is a normal trade practice done by many countries all over the world.
The US wants to protect itself against Mexico and China – and Malaysia will benefit
The US is the world’s number one economy and China is the world’s second largest economy.
China however is fast catching up on the US and so, the US is doing all it can to protect its number one position.
According to Standard Chartered Global Research, the US will protect its economy mainly against five countries – China, Mexico, Japan and Germany.
As a result, the US will not import so much from these countries.
But instead it will import from other countries in Asia.
And who are these countries?
They include Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and of course Malaysia.
What will the US import from Malaysia?
According to the report, due to its protectionist stance, the US will not import from China or Mexico but will import from other countries which include Malaysia.
The products include electrical and electronics, electrical machinery, telecommunications equipment, office furniture and computer parts.
This is indeed good news for Malaysia as a lot of our companies are involved in such industries with customers all over the world.
What does this mean to the rakyat?
This will definitely be good news for Malaysians working in these companies because the US is the world’s largest importer.
As an example, the US will import millions of dollars in telecommunications equipment from Malaysian small and medium scale enterprises.
This will provide job opportunities for local workers, enable them to earn an income, feed their families and also help make our economy stronger.
The competitiveness of Malaysian companies will improve
Now that the US will not buy from China or Mexico, the superpower nation will look elsewhere which include Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and others.
Thus, the competition among companies and small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in all these countries will be very high.
So the Malaysian companies have no choice but to improve competitiveness, improve efficiency and work harder so that the US will buy its products from the Malaysian company.
When companies show good results, the US will like the companies and buy from that company.
This would be a huge boost to the company’s image, credibility and branding and Malaysia’s name and reputation in the world will grow.
Positive economic growth for Malaysia
When a country like the US buys a lot from Malaysia, this will definitely be positive for Malaysia.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said during the installation of Yang the di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V on April 24 that despite the challenging economy, the Malaysian economy is on track for a 4.3 percent growth in 2017.
When a country like the US buys from Malaysia, other investors will also have the confidence to come to Malaysia.
The ringgit will also become stronger, the stock market will also become solid and everything will become positive.
In the end, it is the rakyat who will benefit able to make a good living together with their families.