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Chile and Malaysia to start FTA talks

Prensa Latina, Cuba

Chile and Malaysia to Start FTA Talks

19 April 2007

Santiago de Chile, Apr 19 (Prensa Latina) A Chilean high level delegation started negotiations with Malaysia to establish a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries, said Chile’s Palace of La Moneda (Government House) Thursday.

Andres Rebolledo, Director of Economic Bilateral Affairs of the General Direction of Economic International Relations (DIRECON), was the head of the Chilean delegation in Australia.

Rebolledo regarded the conversations as "a first session to approach and talk about the program and define the reach of future negotiation."

The first round of talks will be held at the beginning of June in Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia.

Both countries made a study last year, to evaluate the possibility to sign a Free Trade Agreement, and the study recommended such an agreement would stimulate commercial exchange between the two countries.

"We have already a commercial agreement with Singapore and Brunei in force, as members of the P-4 Group and we have started the study to evaluate FTA negotiation with Vietnam," Rebolledo said.

"If we add Malaysia, Chile would be much closer to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which gathers 10 Southeast Asian countries, with a great commercial role in the world in this century," he added.

Malaysia is a country with a little more than 24 million inhabitants and a similar economy to that of Chile, with a Gross Domestic product of around 130 billion dollars and a per capita income near 5,000 dollars.

Commercial exchange between these two countries in 2006 was 311 million dollars, with a growth of 35.3 percent compared to 2005.

Chilean exports to Malaysia in 2006 were around 122.6 million, superior to 2005 by 29 percent, while imports reached 188.5 million dollars.