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Malaysia-Pakistan FTA to be reviewed by month-end, says Mustapa

Malay Mail, Malaysia

Malaysia-Pakistan FTA to be reviewed by month-end, says Mustapa

February 11, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11(Bernama ) Malaysia and Pakistan will review the free trade agreement (FTA) between both countries by month-end, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

The trade balance is currently in favour of Malaysia.

“We export a lot to them and don’t seem be importing much in turn. So, they are asking us to address this trade imbalance,” he told reporters after attending a networking session with private sector agencies in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration.

“We are always looking at ways of ensuring fair trade with everyone. But there are things we can do, and others we cannot,” he said.

Mustapa said a team from Islamabad would be here to discuss the FTA over two days.

The FTA between Pakistan and Malaysia was signed in Kuala Lumpur in November 2007 – the first bilateral agreement between two member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia in 2012 was valued at RM6.5 billion.

Commodity products imported by Pakistan include those based on palm oil and valued at RM4 billion, rubber (RM76.9 million), cocoa (RM33.8 million) and pepper (RM2.42 million).

Last month, the Pakistan-Malaysia Business Council chairman, M. Bashir Janmohammed said both countries needed to address the trade imbalance, by diversifying trade products.

“This can be done by increasing the volume of exports of non-basmati rice, halal food products and frozen seafood to Malaysia.

“This is given the sizeable demand and fact that Malaysia imports such products from neighbouring countries,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mustapa said his deputy, Datuk Hamim Samuri, would lead a trade and investment mission to Papua New Guinea from February 16-17.

Malaysia has emerged as the second largest investor in the country, especially in forestry, tourism, mining and construction, he added.