Agricultural trade between Malaysia and China: Competitiveness and complementarity


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The discernment of trade competitiveness and complementarity findings holds crucial implications for policymakers, facilitating the formulation and implementation of strategies conducive to fostering economic growth. This study aims to determine the latest level of competitiveness and complementarity of the agricultural trade between Malaysia and China. This investigation uses quantitative research methodologies to draw upon data extracted from the UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database, specifically employing the HS2012 (HS12) classification system from 2017 to 2019. The empirical findings illuminate significant trends. China displays a pronounced comparative advantage in exporting agricultural products classified by HS12 items 05, 13, and 16, whereas Malaysia exhibits a pronounced comparative advantage in exporting HS12 items 14, 15, 18, 19, and 21. The examination of trade dynamics unveils that HS12 item 07 demonstrates a complementary relationship in terms of China’s exports and Malaysia’s imports, while HS12 items 14, 15, and 19 exhibit complementarity from the perspective of Malaysia’s exports and China’s imports. The trade intensity index (>1) substantiates the profound interconnectedness characterizing bilateral agricultural trade ties between the two nations. The investigation uncovers inter-industry advantages within HS12 items 06, 07, 11, 14, and 16, juxtaposed with intra-industry advantages specifically about HS12 item 23. The findings provide evidence of the inherent comparative advantages prevalent within diverse agricultural product categories. Consequently, this study not only aids policymakers but also furnishes traders within Malaysia and China with strategic insights, thereby facilitating the development of plans to augment the competitive prowess within their respective agricultural sectors.

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    • Table 1. Revealed comparative advantage (RCA) index of Malaysia’s and China’s agricultural exports (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Table 2. TCI based on Malaysia’s exports and China’s imports, and China’s exports and Malaysia’s imports (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Table 3. Trade intensity index (TII) based on China’s export to Malaysia and Malaysia’s export to China (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Table 4. Grubel-Lloyd index based on agricultural trade between China and Malaysia based on HS 2012 code classification (2017, 2018, and 2019)
    • Table А1. HS 2012 classification of agricultural products
    • Conceptualization
      Zhe Tao, Siva Shankar Ramasamy
    • Data curation
      Zhe Tao
    • Formal Analysis
      Zhe Tao
    • Funding acquisition
      Zhe Tao
    • Investigation
      Zhe Tao
    • Methodology
      Zhe Tao
    • Project administration
      Zhe Tao, Fangli Ying
    • Resources
      Zhe Tao, Siva Shankar Ramasamy
    • Software
      Zhe Tao
    • Validation
      Zhe Tao
    • Visualization
      Zhe Tao
    • Writing – original draft
      Zhe Tao, Siva Shankar Ramasamy
    • Writing – review & editing
      Zhe Tao, Siva Shankar Ramasamy, Fangli Ying
    • Supervision
      Siva Shankar Ramasamy, Fangli Ying