Malaysia to sign FTAs with HK, Iran by year end

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the trade deficit declined 9.6 percent to $43.6 billion, also as exports increased to their highest level in more than two years, after rising to a near two-year high of $48.2 billion in January. (Shipping containers sit at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California - Reuters filepic)

SERDANG: Malaysia is expected to sign free trade agreements (FTAs) with Hong Kong and Iran by year-end, said Second Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
He said to-date Malaysia has signed 13 FTAs with its Asean and dialogue partners.
“We need to speed up the signing of the FTAs as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is also progressing.
“Not only that, the FTA between Malaysia and European Union (EU) is also advancing,” he told reporters after an Engagement Session at Universiti Putra Malaysia on Monday.  
However, there was a concern on the palm oil sector as the EU has adopted a discriminatory policy towards palm oil, he said.
The EU is Malaysia’s biggest palm oil market and in 2016, palm oil export stood at RM10bil.  
The FTA between Malaysia and 27 EU countries is expected to boost total trade by 20-30% from 10% currently.
The EU is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner with total trade in January this year increased 9.7% to RM12.9bil from the same month a year ago.
In 2016, trade with the EU edged up 0.4% to RM149.1bil. - Bernama
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