The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) today announced Malaysia has initiated bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with the Republic of Korea.
In a statement, MITI said this had been agreed by its minister Datuk Darell Leiking and South Korea’s Trade Minister, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, Yoo Myung-hee.
The discussions to explore the bilateral trade agreement were initiated when Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in March 2019.
During the meeting, both leaders recognised the significance of the enhanced economic cooperation and partnership between the two countries for mutual long-term prosperity.
“The bilateral FTA is expected to provide a better platform for both countries to increase trade activities, as well as to facilitate investment.
“In order to strengthen the economic cooperation elements, both Malaysia and South Korea are desirable to explore cooperation which is in line with both parties’ economic development strategies, such as Malaysia’s Look East Policy 2.0 and Korea’s New Southern Policy,” MITI said.
In 2018, South Korea was Malaysia’s eighth largest trading partner with total trade increasing by 7.2% to RM72.60 billion (US$17.98 billion) from 2017.
South Korea is Malaysia’s ninth largest export destination, driven by exports of electrical and electronics products, liquefied natural gas, petroleum products and manufactures of metal, chemicals and chemical products.
Meanwhile, South Korea is the eighth largest source of imports with major products such as electrical and electronics products, petroleum products, chemicals and chemical products, machinery, equipment and parts, and iron and steel products.