An Overview and Examination of the Malaysian Service Sector

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    No. ID-27 OFFICE OF INDUSTRIES WORKING PAPER U.S. INTERNATIONAL TRADE COMMISSION  An Overview and Examination of the Malaysian Service Sector Lisa Alejandro Jennifer Baumert Powell Samantha Brady Isaac Wohl November 2010 Office of Industries working papers are the result of the ongoing professional research of USITC Staff and are solely meant to represent the opinions and professional research of individual authors. These papers are not meant to represent in any way the views of the U.S. International Trade Commission or any of its individual Commissioners. Working papers are circulated to promote the active exchange of ideas between USITC Staff and recognized experts outside the USITC, and to promote professional development of Office staff by encouraging outside professional critique of staff research. ADDRESS   CORRESPONDENCE   TO: OFFICE   OF   INDUSTRIES U.S.   INTERNATIONAL   TRADE   COMMISSION WASHINGTON,   DC   20436   USA    An Overview and Examination of the Malaysian Service Sector Lisa Alejandro, Jennifer Baumert Powell, Samantha Brady, and Isaac Wohl 1 U.S. International Trade Commission ABSTRACT   The service sector is a rapidly growing component of Malaysia’s economy. In 2008, the last year for which data are available, it expanded 7.2 percent to $96.9 billion and employed over half of the country’s workforce. Growth in the Malaysian service sector is largely a product of government policies that promote service industries, including tax benefits and investment, as well as specialization in niche service industries that cater to Islamic consumers. In April 2009, the government eliminated or eased ethnic-Malay equity requirements in 27 service industries in an effort to further increase service industries’ contribution to the Malaysian economy. The growing global competitiveness of Malaysia’s service sector is reflected in steady growth in trade volumes. Malaysia’s cross-border trade in services increased at an average annual rate of 15 percent to $60.6 billion from 2004 through 2008, accounting for 13 percent of total Malaysian cross-border trade and about 1 percent of global services trade in 2008. While the United States maintains a surplus in cross-border services trade with Malaysia; 1  its imports from Malaysia in this sector grew faster than the corresponding exports from 2004 through 2008. In 2008, U.S. cross-border services exports to Malaysia totaled $2.0 billion, while services imports from Malaysia totaled $1.3 billion. Intangible intellectual property and tourism services account for the largest shares of U.S. services exports to Malaysia. Quantitative analysis suggests that the existence of nontariff measures continues to inhibit foreign participation in Malaysian service industries. While Malaysia has made significant efforts to liberalize certain service industries, Commission staff analysis indicates that further liberalization could increase Malaysia’s yearly services imports from the rest of the world by as much as $2.6 billion. 1  The invaluable assistance of Monica Reed, Patricia M. Cooper, Cindy Payne, and Joann Peterson is gratefully acknowledged. Please direct all correspondence to Jennifer Baumert Powell, Office of Industries, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, SW, Washington, DC 20436, telephone: 202-205-3450, fax: 202-205-2359, Email: Jennifer.Powell@usitc.gov.     1  U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC), Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), “U.S. International Services: Cross-Border Trade in 2008,” October 2009, 48–59. 2  3   Introduction The service sector is a large and growing component of Malaysia’s expanding economy, accounting for almost 55 percent of that country’s gross domestic product (GDP) 2  and approximately 13 percent of total Malaysian cross-border trade in 2008. 3  A significant  part of the Malaysian government’s current economic strategy is aimed at improving the competitiveness of the Malaysian service sector, with dedicated programs to encourage domestic and foreign investment in certain service industries and increase these industries’ productivity. 4  Malaysia is one of Asia’s key service markets, given its ties with regional partners, including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); 5  its significant overall bilateral trade relationship with the United States; 6  its status as the site of significant U.S. foreign investment; 7  and its ongoing negotiations with the United States in pursuit of a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA). 8  This paper is the second in a series of studies that identify and examine important characteristics and trends affecting developing-country markets for services. 9  The paper  begins with an overview of the Malaysian service sector, including data and analysis on the size and growth of that country’s service sector and a discussion of factors affecting supply and demand in the Malaysian services market. Following the overview, the paper focuses on factors affecting Malaysia’s position in the global service market, Malaysian service trade with the world, and the potential effect of liberalization in the Malaysian service sector. This paper also provides overviews and analyses of three discrete Malaysian service industries which have experienced particularly notable growth or development in recent years, including the banking, healthcare, and logistic services industries. 2  Ibid. The service sector’s value-added reported at constant prices as a percentage of nominal GDP at factor cost. GDP at factor cost is GDP at market prices, less indirect taxes, plus subsidies.   3  Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2009/2010 , 2009.   4  Ministry of International Trade and Industry Malaysia,  Malaysia: International Trade and Industry Report 2007  , July 2008, 129. These targets for growth are set out in Malaysia’s Third Industrial Master Plan and are coordinated by two councils, the Malaysian Services Development Council and the Malaysia Logistics Council.   5  Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Country Profile 2007: Malaysia , 2007, 12. Membership in ASEAN is central to Malaysia’s foreign policy. Additionally, China and ASEAN are currently negotiating the final part of a free trade agreement, which includes an agreement on services, signed in January 2007. In addition to Malaysia, the members of ASEAN include Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.   6  U.S. Department of State, “Background Note: Malaysia,” December 2008. The United States is Malaysia’s largest trading partner.   7  USDOC, The United States Foreign & Commercial Service (USF&CS), and U.S. Department of State,  Doing  Business in Malaysia: 2008 Country Commercial Guide , February 21, 2008, 2.   8  Ibid., 3. In May 2004, the U.S. and Malaysia signed a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA), and in June 2006, bilateral negotiations began on a U.S.-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Eight rounds of negotiations were conducted through June 2008. 9  The first study in the series is USITC,  An Overview and Examination of the Indian Services Sector  , July 2010, http://www.usitc.gov.    Overview of the Malaysian Service Sector Strong performance in Malaysia’s service sector  10  has been the key to recent growth in that country’s economy. According to data reported by Treasury Malaysia, output in Malaysia’s service sector increased by 9.6 percent in 2007 and by 7.2 percent in 2008, surpassing growth in other sectors of the economy and accounting for a significant share of the growth in Malaysia’s total GDP during those respective years—4.5 percent in 2007 and 5.4 percent in 2008. 11  Growth in the Malaysian services market was comparable to that posted in other southeast Asian service markets in 2008, including Vietnam and Indonesia (6.1 percent each); the Philippines (3.8 percent); Thailand (2.6 percent); and Singapore (1.1 percent). 12  Services industries also account for the largest share of Malaysian employment. Employment in the Malaysian service sector grew at an average annual rate of 3.5  percent between 2004 and 2008, reaching 6.0 million workers, or 52 percent of total employment in 2008. 13  By comparison, total employment in Malaysia grew at an average annual rate of 2.6 percent during this period, reaching 11.6 million workers in 2008. 14  According to Treasury Malaysia, large private industries within the Malaysian service sector include wholesale and retail trade services and finance and insurance services, which respectively accounted for 24 percent and 21 percent of Malaysian service GDP in 2008 (figure 1). 15  In that year, the fastest-growing service industries were government services and the wholesale and retail trade industry, which grew by 11.1 percent and 9.8  percent, respectively. 16  Malaysia’s tourism industry—which includes restaurant and accommodation services, among other activities—also experienced significant growth in recent years, partly due to government efforts to support this industry through the hosting of sports events and international conventions. 17   10  EIU, Country Profile 2007: Malaysia , 2007, 31; Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2009/2010 . The Malaysian service sector is divided into intermediate, final, and government services. Intermediate services include transport and storage; communication; finance and insurance; and real estate and business services. Final services consist of utilities; wholesale and retail trade; hotels and restaurants; and other services, which comprise community, social, and personal services, as well as imputed rent of owner-occupied dwellings. Government services are recorded separately.   11  Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2008/2009 , 2008,Table 3.1; Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2009/2010 , 2009. Malaysian total GDP is reported as sectoral GDP for the agriculture, mining, manufacturing, construction, and services sectors of the Malaysian economy, less undistributed financial intermediate services indirectly measured (FISIM), plus import duties. 12  World Bank, “World Development Indicators (WDI) Online Database,” (various dates). Data on services value added for the world are given in constant 2000 dollars, and are only available through 2005. Growth in other regional countries’ services markets is expressed by percentage increase in services value added in 2008. 13  Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2009/2010 , 2009.   14  Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2008/2009 , 2008, Table 6.1, and Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2009/2010 , 2009, Table 2.2.   15  Government services— services consumed by the Malaysian government—accounted for 13.4 percent of Malaysian GDP during that same year. Treasury Malaysia does not define “government services”; however, it is indicated that growth in this sector reflects increased public services spending. Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2009/2010 , 2009.   16  Treasury Malaysia,  Economic Report 2009/2010 , Table 2.3, 2008.   17  EIU, Country Profile 2008: Malaysia , 2008, 24.  4
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