EFTA and Malaysia resume free trade negotiations

Published 28-02-2020
Delegations from the EFTA States and Malaysia convened from 25 to 28 February 2020 in Kuala Lumpur for the ninth round of negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement.
Delegations from the EFTA States and Malaysia convened from 25 to 28 February 2020 in Kuala Lumpur for the ninth round of negotiations on an Economic Partnership Agreement. Ms Sumathi Balakrishnan, Senior Director at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, headed the Malaysian delegation while Ambassador Markus Schlagenhof from Switzerland acted as the EFTA spokesperson.

The ninth round was the first full negotiation round since March 2017, due to the change in government following the general elections in Malaysia in spring 2018. Subsequently there was a reassessment of trade policy priorities on the Malaysian side.

The round allowed expert groups to take stock and pave the way for further negotiations in all areas under discussion. These are trade in goods (including market access for industrial and agricultural products), sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade remedies, rules of origin, trade facilitation, trade in services, investment, legal and horizontal issues, competition, intellectual property rights, government procurement, cooperation and trade and sustainable development.

The two sides agreed on a number of concrete follow-up actions and a tenth round of negotiations is foreseen for the second quarter of 2020.

Merchandise trade between the EFTA States and Malaysia amounted to USD 1.64 billion in 2019. Exports from EFTA States, worth USD 814 million in total, consisted mainly of pharmaceutical products and machinery.

Read more about merchandise trade between EFTA and Malaysia here.

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