Compared to its neighbours in Southeast Asia, Malaysia was late to get on the FTA train. But now it does not want to be left out of the major deals, it seems.
Malaysia signed its first FTAs with Japan in 2005. In 2007, it signed with Pakistan. It also has FTAs with Chile (2010) , India (2011) and New Zealand (2009), It has been in FTA talks with the US, but these have effectively been shelves since 2009. It is in negotiations with Australia, and may commence negotiations with the GCC and EFTA.
As member of ASEAN, it is also party to the agreements with China, India, Korea and Japan, and the negotiations with Australia/New Zealand and the EU.
last update: May 2012
Malaysia and Australia hope to conclude the free trade agreement (FTA) between both countries within a ’reasonable time-frame’," says International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Negotiations for an ambitious free trade agreement between India and the European Union are on track but are unlikely to be completed by end of 2008, EC Ambassador to India said today.
The conclusion of negotiations for the Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) may take longer than expected as Malaysia cannot agree to Australia’s requests which go beyond the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agenda, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said on Monday.
Malaysia has expressed hope that the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement with India will be concluded this year.
Local companies must step up their competitive edge to compete with products of foreign companies that will enter the Malaysian market in the goods and services sector under the liberalisation process of the World Trade Organization, Free Trade Agreements and Asean Framework Agreement on Services.
In order to fully realise FTA benefits, the government says it is imperative that Malaysian companies restructure and diversify their activities, rationalise industries through relocation of certain products to lower cost producing countries, move to higher-value added products and establish strategic partnerships or alliances with others.
The European Free Trade Association and Hong Kong are keen to establish a free trade agreement with Malaysia.
Malaysia is currently negotiating an FTA with the USA and the European Union and as with any North-South FTAs their scope are extensive. The Third World Network has produced a preliminary report looking at the likely impact of these FTAs on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia.
Indian and Malaysian trade negotiators are racing to conclude the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CECA) by next year, with another eight rounds of talks to go.
Malaysia’s racial policies look as though they could become an international issue rather than a purely domestic one. A Free Trade Agreement with the US is stalled partly on the issue of racial preferences. And if the much vaunted ASEAN Free Trade Area is to allow free movement of capital and skilled labor, Malays cannot be shielded from competition with ASEAN’s 400 million people.