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South Korea, Malaysia To Negotiate FTA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

13 December 2010

During the South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s recent visit to Malaysia, he agreed with the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) should be negotiated between their two countries.

While, since June 2007, South Korea already has an FTA in force with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Malaysia is a member country, it is hoped that a bilateral FTA would provide enhancements to that agreement, although it was not announced when negotiations were likely to commence.

It was reported that Malaysia is one of South Korea’s major trading partners, with total trade between the two countries amounting to almost USD12bn in 2009. That total can be expected to reach over USD16bn this year, and it was thought that an improved FTA would add even further to the countries’ trade and economic relationship. In particular, the two leaders considered that total bilateral trade could be doubled within five years.

The two leaders also agreed to look at the means to enhance that relationship in such areas as oil and gas and green industries, while there were also discussions on nuclear power and information technology.

Whilst Malaysia has been looking to expand its network of FTAs, being involved in the on-going negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, South Korea has also been active in its pursuit of agreements; most notably lately with the European Union and United States.

TAGS: tax | free trade agreement (FTA) | law | tariffs | agreements | Korea, South | Malaysia | trade

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