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5th Issue - July 2018

Message from Dr. Samuele Porsia, the Italian Trade Commissioner

From left to right: Bruno Bertella, IMBA President; Dr. samuele Porsia, Italian Trade Commissioner.
After many years of positive trade balance for Italy, Malaysia moved ahead for the first time in 2016. In 2017, the trade balance was again in favor of Italy, thanks to exports which grew at +19% on year, totaling 1.26 billion euro, while imports grew by 6%, almost reaching 1 billion euro.
As for our exports, the machinery and equipment sector remains stable at the first place, followed by chemical products and vehicles. It is worth noting also the great performance of lubricants, thanks to Petronas investment in Selenia (Piemonte).
Regarding direct investments, in 2018 ERREPPI (Umbria), an Italian agriculture machinery manufacturer, will set up a manufacturing facility in Malacca for the local production of agricultural equipment specially adapted for tropical climates.
In 2017, promotional activities doubled compared to 2016. Italian businesses are starting to consider Malaysia as a commercial Hub for the whole Asean, also thanks to its openness to international trade, which makes it the second most developed country in the region after Singapore.
In the next three years, our promotional activities will focus on promoting Malaysia as the premier destination for production and distribution in Asean. Particularly, it will focus especially on the sectors of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, iron and steel, automotive and electronic components.
We are planning a stronger participation to exhibitions in the aerospace & defense sectors and a more effective promotion of Italian food & beverage among mass distribution. Furthermore, the Italian Festival will increase the awareness of Made in Italy among local consumers through design, furniture and cinema initiatives.

Samuele Porsia
Italian Trade Commissioner
IMBA to launch the Italian Emporium on Lazada in August

The Italian Emporium, a joint initiative between IMBA and Lazada Malaysia, is an e-commerce platform on Lazada website and mobile app dedicated exclusively to showcase Italian brands and Made in Italy products. This platform will initially allow sellers to reach buyers in Malaysia and Singapore, but soon it will give access to all South-east Asia markets, leveraging the Digital Free Trade Zone.

The Italian Emporium will be the first digital window for Made in Italy products and brands in South-east Asia. It will represent a great opportunity for vendors to gain traction in the e-commerce market in this growing digital era and to increase awareness among South-east Asia consumers about the value and quality of authentic Made in Italy products and brands.

The Offical Launch event will take place on August 2nd at The Westin, Kuala Lumpur. The event will be divided in two sessions. During the first part, representatives from IMBA and Lazada Malaysia, together with the Ambassador of Italy, H.E. Cristiano Maggipinto, and the Director of the Italian Trade Agency, Dr. Samuele Porsia, will showcase the initiative to the selected sellers and invited guests.

During the second session Lazada will explain to the selected vendors how to register and sell on their platform and to leverage this opportunity to access a market that will be worth USD 30 billion in the next few years. The presentation will be followed by a networking cocktail.

This event is by invitation only. If you are interested to know more, please send an email to

SST to be reintroduced on September 1st at 10% for good and 6% for services
According to the Finance Minister, Lim Guang Eng (picture), the bill on the SST, which will replace the Goods and Services Tax (GST), was expected to be passed in Parliament next month and reintroduced on September 1 this year.

The SST was expected to bring in revenue of RM4 billion, he told reporters after officiating the National Tax Conference 2018 here today.

Lim expects the government to collect RM14.4 billion this year by reverting to the SST, coupled with rising crude oil prices and extra dividends from government-linked companies.

To fill up the gap left by the GST, Lim added, the Finance Ministry had identified RM10 billion worth of costs saving measures including downsizing and abolishing overlapping and non-urgent programmes.


Malaysian Government considering to merge EPF and SOCSO
The Malaysian Government is considering to consolidate the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and the Social Security Organisation (Socso), thus creating a single entity to look after the welfare of the country’s millions of workers.

Human Resources (HR) Minister M Kulasegaran (picture) said the ministry is preparing a Cabinet paper on the proposal whether EPF and Socso can be merged into a single entity and operate under one “umbrella”.

Kulasegaran said the ministry has identified that EPF and Socso have many overlapping functions and operating procedures. The combined entity would create a larger fund size, generate greater returns and deliver a complete solution to workers.

Read more

Italy 1st Country in EU for pharmaceuticals production and export
At the end of 2017, Italy become the number 1 manufacturer and exporter of pharmaceuticals in the EU, surpassing Germany with 31.2 billion euro worth of production.

According to Massimo Scaccabarozzi (picture), the President of Farmindustria, the Italian Association of pharmaceutical companies, this success was achieved thanks to exports (almost 25 billion euro in 2017).

In the last 10 years, Italian export of pharmaceutical products grew by 107% (against 74% on average in EU), and today it is the 4th most important product category for exports.
Malaysian Government to review tourism tax

According to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi, the Government will review the need to retain the tourism tax to ensure it will not affect tourist arrivals to the country. He said the flat rate of RM10 per room per night charged on foreign tourists needs to be reviewed to determine whether it is reasonable or too high.

This is one of the several initiatives put in motion by the new Government in an attempt to make Malaysia more attractive to foreign visitors. Currently, Kuala Lumpur is the 9th most visited city in the world and Malaysia hosts several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the city of Malacca (picture).

Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) to upgraded all existing customers Home broadband to up to 800 mbps
Unifi, the premier Convergence brand under Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM) today raises the bar for Malaysia’s high-speed broadband service with the unveiling of its new plans. Unifi today announced upgrade plans for existing unifi Home customers to up to 800Mbps, with upgrade plans for new sign-ups scheduled for early next year.

Datuk Bazlan Osman, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer, TM said, “In moving towards a digital and creative-led economy, it is imperative that Malaysia scales up to higher broadband speeds to enable the endless possibilities that technology - and a digital lifestyle - can bring. We will lead the charge to realise the digital economy and accelerating digital-led innovation with what we do best - providing the best high speed broadband services at affordable prices and best value  in the country.”
TM is set to turbo-boost Malaysia’s regional broadband standing starting 15 August 2018 when existing unifi Home customers enjoying broadband, phone and content services will be upgraded in phases up to 10 times the current broadband speed at the same monthly subscription. For example, an existing 30Mbps unifi Home customer will be upgraded up to 300Mbps whilst a 100Mbps unifi Home customer will be upgraded up to 800Mbps.
IMBA & ITA Events Calendar
Market Intelligence
Click here to download the Calendar with all IMBA and ITA initiatives for the first semester of 2018.
Click here to download IMBA Market Intelligence Report, showcasing the latest investment opportunities from Italy.
Editor-in-Chief: Enrico Giuntelli, IMBA Secretary General
Executive Editors: Bruno Bertella, IMBA President; Luciano Pezzotta, IMBA Executive Committee Member; Samuele Porsia, ITA Trade Commissioner; Shakira Matridi, ITA Trade Analyst
For enquiries, contact us at
Copyright © 2017 IMBA Italy Malaysia Business Association, All rights reserved. 
We send communications and invitations to participants of past events. 

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IMBA Italy Malaysia Business Association
c/o ITA, Office Suite 19-14-1 & 3A, Level 14, UOA Centre, No. 19, Jalan Pinang, 50450
Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory 50450
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IMBA Italy Malaysia Business Association · c/o ITA, Office Suite 19-14-1 & 3A, Level 14, UOA Centre, No. 19, Jalan Pinang, 50450 · Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory 50450 · Malaysia

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