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Qatar-Malaysia trade volume skyrocketed to $1 billion in 2022

Surge in bilateral trade marks a 79.5% increase year-on-year, largely attributed to Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup and extensive product exports.

Bilateral trade between Qatar and Malaysia has experienced an extraordinary surge, reaching a landmark $1 billion last year, Kuala Lumpur’s envoy confirmed.

This represents a dramatic 79.5% increase from the previous year, according to Zamshari Shaharan, the Malaysian Ambassador to Qatar.

“It’s a record, I mean, we never reached that level before. Before this, it was $600 million, which was good, but this year it’s been a bit difficult,” Ambassador Shaharan disclosed during a media briefing yesterday.

He identified Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup as a significant catalyst for the increase.

“Due to the organisation of the World Cup in Qatar, we have seen a significant increase in the trade volume. While COVID-19 caused a temporary decline, last year’s $1 billion total trade is a record even for us,” he stated.

Unpacking the Trade Figures

An embassy report revealed that Malaysia’s exports to Qatar totalled $330 million, whereas imports from Qatar stood at $750 million.

Malaysia’s leading exports to Qatar are diverse, with palm oil and palm oil-based agricultural products at $49.7 million, electrical and electronic products at $48.9 million, processed food at $32.7 million, machinery and equipment at $32.5 million, and petroleum products at $31.8 million.

The exported electrical goods chiefly comprise electro-diagnostic and medical apparatus, insulated wire, and optical fibre cables, among others. On the food front, processed meat and cocoa preparations form a part of the exported items.

As for imports from Qatar, crude petroleum dominates at $353 million, followed by chemicals at $187.7 million, petroleum products at $155.8 million, metal manufactures at $39.8 million, and other vegetable oils at $3.3 million.

Additionally, a joint venture is in the pipeline between Malaysia’s Ranhill Utilities and Worley, the world’s largest engineering firm, focusing on Qatar’s North Field Production Sustainability (NFPS) project.

This follows a reported $50 million contract from an Italian Saipem subsidiary, slated for completion by Q3 2024.

Qatargas awarded Saipem an unprecedented $4.5 billion contract last year for the engineering, procurement, fabrication, and installation (EPCI) of two offshore natural gas compression complexes.

These are aimed at maintaining production levels at the North Field, with each platform estimated to weigh between 25,000 and 35,000 tonnes.