Importers and exporters pressured by Covid-19 outbreak

Kong Ket Dee

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SIBU, March 1: Import and export businesses here are feeling additional pressure from the Covid-19 outbreak, according to Sibu Chamber of Importers, Exporters and Wholesalers Association outgoing president Kong Ket Dee.

He noted their business operations were already feeling the brunt of the ban on imports of canned pork luncheon meat from China by the state government since October last year, due to the African swine fever epidemic.

“This time it is even more difficult for us as Covid-19 which started in China in Wuhan province is now an epidemic,” he said at the association’s 30th annual general meeting here today.

Kong noted the epidemic has increased anxiety and decreased market purchasing power.

He also expressed concern about wholesalers’ ability to replenish stocks after they run out and that there might be a supply shortage, which would also affect consumers.

He revealed that businesses have seen their expenses increasing while profits have diminished due to the sluggish global economy and weakness in the ringgit.

Kong appealed to the state government to look into the problems faced by the canned pork industry and be sympathetic to the association members’ situation by lifting the import ban on canned pork as soon as possible so that market supply can return to normal.

He expected that the forces of globalisation supported by rapid development in information and communication technology, will inevitably pose greater challenges to import and export wholesalers.

Thus, he urged association members to adjust their pace, be creative and open to change, and adapt accordingly, as there is also opportunity in times of crisis.

“I believe that as long as we maintain a positive attitude, we can finally overcome difficulties,” he emphasised, urging members to embody good business ethics and advocate for fair competition.

He also exhorted members to incorporate innovation into their products, attend to product quality and adopt modern marketing models to meet current needs. — DayakDaily