November 22, 2011 17:48 PM
Malaysia hopes to sign several FTAs by end-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 (Bernama) — Malaysia is actively participating in free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations and is optimistic of signing several FTAs by end-2012, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
"We hope to conclude negotiations by the first quarter of next year with Australia and we are at the tail-end of negotiations with Turkey.
"Certainly, by end of next year, we’ll sign agreements with at least a few countries," he told reporters at a press conference after opening International Trade Malaysia (INTRADE) 2011 here today.
Mustapa said currently, 61 per cent of Malaysia’s total trade was with FTA partners.
Over the last few years, Malaysia concluded bilateral FTAs with Japan, Pakistan, Chile, New Zealand and India and was signatories to regional FTAs with China, Japan, Korea, India and Australia/New Zealand.
He also said Malaysia was currently in negotiations with the European Union and members of the Transpacific Partnership to conclude free trade agreements.
Mustapa also said INTRADE’s FTA information clinics would assist businesses in making the most of the agreements.
He said with the global economic uncertainties in the Eurozone and the United States, emerging Asia and Asean, specifically, could provide a buffer for their businesses.
"The 5,230 business meetings scheduled to take place (during INTRADE) is testimony to this fact.
"Business meetings are being organised with business communities from our leading trade partners such as India, China, Asean and Japan.
"And, for the first nine months of the year, Malaysia’s trade expanded 8.6 per cent with exports growing at 8.3 per cent," he added.
The Incoming Buying Mission programme, a business meeting programme between foreign buyers and Malaysian companies, including INTRADE exhibitors, has scheduled over 5,300 meetings during INTRADE 2011.
A total of 509 buyers from 53 countries have been selected by MATRADE’s overseas offices based on their profiles and sourcing requirements.