KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 (Bernama) — The fifth round of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Malaysia will be held in mid-October in Brussels, Belgium.
“The fifth round held within a year shows a very steady rhythm of meetings. We are making very good progress,” Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Malaysia, Vincent Piket told reporters here today.
He said there would be difficult discussions but commitment from both sides, will ensure reasonable and forward looking solutions.
“The trade agreement between Malaysia and the EU implemented over time, needs to look forward to a situation where the Malaysian economy is highly developed with a high income group.
“We need to try to see how we can promote this growth,” he added.
The fourth round of negotiations was recently held in Kuala Lumpur in July.
Negotiations have proceeded well in several areas including goods and services and horizontal aspects such as competition, sustainable development and government procurement.
Even without the FTA, trade between both Malaysia and the EU has already been on the rise.
The strengthening of EU-Malaysia trade is highlighted by the 24 per cent increase in EU exports to Malaysia between 2009 and 2010.
In 2010 the total trade between EU and Malaysia was 1.9 billion euros, the highest to date.
“With the FTA, it will produce extra growth. A little bit extra for the EU and a lot of extra growth for Malaysia.
“Malaysia stands to gain an extra eight percent in gross domestic product (GDP) growth by 2020. That is sizeable and would help create revenue for the country, particularly creating jobs in smaller firms,” said Piket.
The FTA talks were launched on Oct 5, 2010 in Brussels, during the meeting between European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
It was planned to be concluded within 20 months.
Malaysia is the second ASEAN country to open FTA negotiations with the EU after Singapore.
The EU, with a 11.9 per cent share, is Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner and one of its largest sources of foreign direct investment.
Malaysia is also the EU’s second largest trade partner in ASEAN, with more than 2,000 European companies present in the country.
Source : Bernama