Amid the broad statements on free trade and regional economic development from the past weeks’ G20 and APEC gatherings, several smaller-scale negotiations are producing results. One of them is a signed deal between Malaysia and Chile to eliminate tariffs on their respective agricultural and industrial products, starting in the first half of 2011.

Some 6,960 Malaysian products will have immediate free access to the Chilean market with another 668 following in the coming years. Trade between Malaysia and the South American nation reached RM853.7 (US$274 million) in the first nine months of 2010. Malaysian electronics, wood, rubber and chemical products made up the bulk of its RM199.8 million in exports to Chile, while imports from Chile to Malaysia were mostly scrap metal, paper & pulp products, and fruit. Malaysian exporters of manufactured goods like rubber gloves, textiles, aircraft parts, cocoa butter, steel rods and ceramic wares would likely benefit.

The deal marks a new step in free trade between developing and emerging economies, as trade with developed nations begins to stagnate. Chile’s $164 billion economy grew by 7.2% this quarter, driven in part by natural resources in which Chile is abundant, and the government approved $13.3 billion in foreign investment requests last month.

Malaysia has already signed free trade agreements with Japan, Pakistan and New Zealand.

source & full article: Bloomberg/BusinessWeek