Malaysia’s push for FTAs

Malaysia’s push for FTAs


Sam Deave, Corporate Services Manager

Second Minister for International Trade and Industry, Ong Ka Chuan, has said Malaysia is expecting to sign FTA’s with both Hong Kong (as a member of ASEAN) and Iran by the end of 2017.

The FTA between ASEAN and Hong Kong will be signed at the 31st ASEAN Summit in November in the Philippines, after negotiations were wrapped up in the 10th round of talks on July 30-31. The successful conclusion will be declared in the ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting in Hong Kong in September.

Malaysia has pursued the Iran FTA since last December believing that it “would allow Malaysia to gain a first-mover advantage.” It is expected to be greatly beneficial for Malaysia’s exports in products, particularly rubber and palm oil.

Ong Ka Chuan has also expressed the need to “speed up the signing of the FTAs as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is progressing”, which is an agreement between the 10 ASEAN nations, Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, India and Japan. He also told reporters that “the FTA between Malaysia and European Union is also advancing”, however, the concern still stands with the palm oil sector. The FTA between Malaysia and EU countries is expected to boost total trade by 20-30 per cent from 10 per cent currently. The EU is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner.

To view Minister Ong Ka Chuan’s interview with Asia House back in March click here.