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Malaysia

The United States and Malaysia engage closely on trade and investment issues, including under our 2004 Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. The latest information regarding significant trade barriers can be found in the 2021 National Trade Estimate Report, see here.

Economic and Trade Statistics

In 2020, Malaysia GDP was an estimated $336.3 billion (current market exchange rates); real GDP was down by an estimated 6.0 percent; and the population was 33 million. (Source: IMF)

U.S. goods and services trade with Malaysia totaled an estimated $60.1 billion in 2020. Exports were $14.4 billion; imports were $45.7 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Malaysia was $31.3 billion in 2020.

Malaysia is currently our 18th largest goods trading partner with $56.4 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2020. Goods exports totaled $12.3 billion; goods imports totaled $44.1 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with Malaysia was $31.8 billion in 2020.

Trade in services with Malaysia (exports and imports) totaled an estimated $3.7 billion in 2020. Services exports were $2.1 billion; services imports were $1.6 billion. The U.S. services trade surplus with Malaysia was $504 million in 2020.

According to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Malaysia supported an estimated 66 thousand jobs in 2019 (latest data available) (50 thousand supported by goods exports and 16 thousand supported by services exports).

Exports

•    Malaysia was the United States' 22nd largest goods export market in 2020.

•    U.S. goods exports to Malaysia in 2020 were $12.3 billion, down 6.8 percent ($892 million) from 2019 and down 13 percent from 2010.  

•    The top export categories (2-digit HS) in 2020 were: electrical machinery ($4.4 billion), machinery ($1.1 billion), optical and medical instruments ($887 million), plastics ($877 million), and aircraft ($745 million).

•    U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Malaysia totaled $1.1 billion in 2020. Leading domestic export categories include: soybeans ($240 million), dairy products ($157 million), food preparations ($109 million), cotton ($79 million), and wheat ($73 million).

•    U.S. exports of services to Malaysia were an estimated $2.1 billion in 2020, 32.5 percent ($1.0 billion) less than 2019, but 4 percent less than 2010 levels.  Leading services exports from the U.S. to Malaysia were in the financial services, intellectual property (licenses for the use of research and development), and travel sectors.

Imports

•    Malaysia was the United States' 14th largest supplier of goods imports in 2020.

•    U.S. goods imports from Malaysia totaled $44.1 billion in 2020, up 8.9 percent ($3.6 billion) from 2019, and up 70 percent from 2010.  U.S. imports from Malaysia account for 1.9 percent of overall U.S. imports in 2020.

•    The top import categories (2-digit HS) in 2020 were: electrical machinery ($26 billion), machinery ($5.4 billion), rubber ($2.8 billion), optical and medical instruments ($2.6 billion), and furniture and bedding ($2.0 billion).

•    U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Malaysia totaled $1.1 billion in 2020. Leading categories include: vegetable oils ($490 million), industrial alcohols and fatty acids ($231 million), cocoa paste and cocoa butter ($195 million), other feeds and grain products ($76 million), and baked goods, cereals, and pasta ($34 million).

•    U.S. imports of services from Malaysia were an estimated $1.6 billion in 2020, 32.3 percent ($753 million) less than 2019, but 7 percent greater than 2010 levels.  Leading services imports from Malaysia to the U.S. were in the technical and other services, transportation, and telecommunications, computer, and information services sectors.

Trade Balance

•    The U.S. goods trade deficit with Malaysia was $31.8 billion in 2020, a 16.5 percent increase ($4.5 billion) over 2019.

•    The United States has a services trade surplus of an estimated $504 million with Malaysia in 2020, down 33.0 percent from 2019.

Investment

•    U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Malaysia (stock) was $13.5 billion in 2020, a 11.5 percent increase from 2019. U.S. direct investment in Malaysia is led by manufacturing, nonbank holding companies, and wholesale trade.

•    Malaysia's FDI in the United States (stock) was $863 million in 2020, up 10.9 percent from 2019. Malaysia's reported direct investment in the U.S. is led by manufacturing, wholesale trade, and professional, scientific, and technical services.

•    Sales of services in Malaysia by majority U.S.-owned affiliates were $8.2 billion in 2018 (latest data available), while sales of services in the United States by majority Malaysia-owned firms were $609 million.