• Malaysia joins WTO members to call for establishment of Work Programme for MSMEs
  • Malaysia-China Trade Deficit Narrows to RM31.32 billion
  • OLM to Establish First 2D Anime Studio in Malaysia
  • Malaysia Gaining Traction As Green Finance Hub – RAM Ratings
  • Malaysia’s Zoom Wins Startup Of The Year Award
  • Japan Tests First Driverless Car on Public Road

Malaysia calls for establishment of Work Programme for MSMEs
On 11 December 2017, Malaysia joined 55 other WTO Members in calling for the establishment of a Work Programme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the WTO. The other countries who supported this initiative include the European Union, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan. The like-minded group sought for a Ministerial Decision on a Work Programme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the WTO. The objective of the formulation of the Work Programme is to enable MSMEs to be integrated into the global value chain and increase participation in international trade. In general, it is recognised that MSMEs are major contributors to economic growth and job creation in most WTO economies. The Work Programme would enable the issue of MSMEs to be dealt comprehensively, and to identify horizontal and non-discriminatory measures that could benefit MSMEs in international trade, taking into account the special needs of developing countries and LDCs. MSMEs in Malaysia accounts for 98.5% of entrepreneurs, contributing to 36.6 percent to GDP and 18.6 percent of exports. In supporting the Work Programme in the WTO, Malaysia suggested that measures in the WTO should facilitate MSMEs to adopt technological changes and embrace industry 4.0, and the digital agenda. (MITI)

Malaysia-China Trade Deficit Narrows to RM31.32 billion
The trade deficit between Malaysia and China narrowed to RM31.32 billion from January to October 2017, compared with RM36.87 billion in the same period last year. Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Chua Tee Yong attributed the improvement to an increase in exports and initiatives by both countries to improve the trade balance, although commodity prices have yet to recover. “Efforts such as the organisation of various expos, introduction of market strategies, establishment of free trade zones and high level visits among top officials of both nations, has helped strengthen the resilience of our trade,” he added. Statistics showed that bilateral trade between Malaysia and China rose by 24.1 per cent year-on-year to RM237.96 billion between January and October 2017, with exports to China surging by 33.5 per cent year-on-year to RM103.32 billion. (Bernama)

OLM Inc. to Establish First 2D Anime Studio in Malaysia
OLM Inc. announced that it is incorporating OLM Asia Sdn. Bhd. as part of the company’s expansion plan, and Malaysia is chosen as its first establishment. This marks the opening of the first 2D Anime-style animation studio in Malaysia. “Malaysia is the perfect starting location for OLM Asia because we believe that there are potential creative talent pools here waiting to be discovered. We have personally witnessed Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)’s efforts in promoting Malaysia’s creative content scene, as well as the growing presence of known global studios in Malaysia. Because of this, we are confident that this country is the best place for us to start,” said President and Chief Executive Officer, Hidehiko Kitajima. The Anime market in Japan is continuously growing and the number of Anime creations by OLM, Inc. increases with it every year. However, the human resource for Anime artists is rather limited in Japan. OLM Asia’s focus will be set on training and working with more digital painters and multitalented animation artists that the digital animation industry largely depends on. They aim to become a one-stop centre delivering excellent Anime production services while producing brilliant animation talents groomed to be ‘Key-Frame’, ‘Background’ as well as ‘Composite’ artists at the same time. (MDEC)

Malaysia’s Zoom Wins Startup of The Year Award
Malaysian startup Zoom has won the Startup of the Year award at the third ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards, putting the company in the same alumni as Grab and Gojek. Zoom, along with 13 other regional winners in various categories, will represent Southeast Asia at the Global Startup Awards in China next year. myNEF Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards Lilyana Latif said the ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards is a regional platform for innovative, local-grown entrepreneurs to break into the global market. “This year, the competition received just under 2,000 nominations from startups across the 10 ASEAN countries.” (Bernama)

Malaysia Gaining Traction as Green Finance Hub – RAM Ratings
Malaysia is gaining traction as a green finance hub, benefitting from the anticipated growth in demand for additional green investments in ASEAN, RAM Rating Services Bhd said. It said the additional green investments were envisaged to come up to an estimated US$3 trillion between 2016 and 2030, with 60 per cent earmarked for infrastructure. The rating agency said Malaysia’s well-established bond and sukuk markets were well poised to benefit from the anticipated green growth which was 37 times the size of the global green bond market in 2016, given that infrastructure representing a significant portion of the Malaysian market. He said the nation’s success in sustainable finance catalysed by the regulators with the release of the Sustainable and Responsible Investment (SRI) Sukuk Framework by the Securities Commission of Malaysia (SC) in 2014 and the ASEAN Green Bond Standards by the SC-led ASEAN Capital Markets Forum in November this year had been important drivers. (Bernama)

Japan Tests First Driverless Car on Public Road
Japan’s first test of a remote-controlled driverless vehicle on a public road was held Thursday in Aichi Prefecture, home to Toyota Motor Corp. and other auto companies. In the test conducted by the central Japan prefecture, the driverless minivan travelled along a road in the town of Kota. It had previously memorized the 700-meter-long route and traffic signs along the way. With its onboard cameras and radar monitoring the road for vehicles and pedestrians, the minivan briefly stopped at a crossing where reporters and photographers had gathered, before continuing along the route at under 15 kilometers per hour. A member of the test team operated the minivan remotely from the Kota community hall near the test course, monitoring footage transmitted by the onboard camera, while an assistant in the passenger seat was on hand to stop the car in case of emergency. In Tokyo, start-up ZMP Inc also conducted a driverless car test on a public road in Koto Ward with the remote-controlled vehicle driving for 150 meters at speeds of up to 20 kph. The company will hold another test on 23 December, which will be open to the public. The driverless car tests on public roads became possible after the National Police Agency revised traffic rules in June. (Japan Today)