Malaysia could see an increase in trade with the European Union soon, once talks on the Malaysia-EU Free Trade Agreement (MEUFTA) get underway in December this year. Prime Minister Najib Razak, in Europe for the 46-nation Asia-Europe Meeting (AEM) announced the beginning of negotiations with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso at a joint press conference today.

The EU accounts for 10.8% of Malaysia’s exports and 11.2% of its global trade. EU-based interests have around US$13.6 billion directly invested in Malaysia, making it the highest source of FDI. As well as boosting these figures with a FTA, Malaysia and the EU will also negotiate a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), holding dialogs to enhance trade as well as cooperate on political relations, science & technology, health, energy, transport, agriculture, banking, maritime, and other issues. The EU would love to have more access to Malaysia’s auto market, and potentially wants to introduce more ‘European’ standards to the country on issues like investor protection, competition law and sustainability.

According to the EU, a free trade agreement would grow Malaysia’s GDP 8% by 2020. The EU is also making deals with others in the region, such as Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, India, Japan and Thailand, possibly in an attempt to lessen China’s regional predominance.

source & article: Bernama, Reuters via Arab News