BERNAMA | 2008/07/31
Malaysian companies to benefit from FTAs
KUALA LUMPUR, THURS :
The government believes free trade agreements (FTAs) can expedite trade through the lowering or elimination of tariffs and non-tariffs measures, as well as spur investment and liberalise services.
The International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said preliminary assessments indicate that the preferential market access provided under the various FTAs had positively contributed to the expansion of Malaysia’s exports.
He said based on the certificates of origin (COO), issued by his ministry, Malaysia’s exports under preferential market access to the four FTA partner countries increased 100 percent to RM13.8 billion in 2007 from RM6.9 billion previously. Under the Asean-China FTA, Malaysia’s exports to China using COO’s increased to RM3.8 billion in 2006 from RM1.3 billion in 2005, Muhyiddin said in his speech at the opening of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) seminar on “Opportunities Under Malaysia’s Free Trade Agreements”, here today.
A total of 12,437 COO’s with an export value of RM5.6 billion were issued to Malaysian exporters for trade with China in 2007.
His speech was delivered by his deputy, Datuk Liew Vui Keong.
At the moment, Muhyiddin said Malaysia had signed and implemented six bilateral and regional FTAs.
He also said Malaysia currently is pursuing bilateral FTAs with the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and India. At the Asean level, negotiations are ongoing to establish FTAs with Australia and New Zealand, India and the European Union.
“Malaysia has invested substantial resources negotiating these FTAs, including conducting domestic industry consultations to formulate a package that would benefit various sectors of the economy, particularly that of the export market,” he explained.
Muhyiddin stressed that the government would not conclude any FTA unless it was satisfied of the net benefits to the country and the business community.
In order to fully realise the FTA benefits, he said it was imperative that Malaysian companies restructure and diversify their activities, rationalise industries through relocation of certain products to lower cost producing countries in the region, move to higher-value added products and establish strategic partnerships or alliances with others in the region.