Trade in goods between EFTA states and Malaysia totaled $1.64 billion in 2019. Exports from EFTA countries, totalling $814 million, were mainly made up of pharmaceuticals and machinery. Although she did not comment on what would happen to Brexit, Fernandez said the bloc would not have a significant impact on Malaysia`s trade relations with the EU and stressed that trade conditions would be the same whether there were 27 or 28 members in the EU. Ensuring better access for EU exporters to the dynamic ASEAN market is an EU priority. Negotiations for a trade and investment agreement between the region and ASEAN began in 2007 and were interrupted by mutual agreement in 2009 to relax a bilateral negotiating format. To learn more about the trade in goods between EFTA and Malaysia, click here. These bilateral trade and investment agreements were designed as building blocks for a future agreement between the regions. The ninth round was the first full round of negotiations since March 2017, following the change of government that followed Malaysia`s parliamentary elections in spring 2018. Then there was a reassessment of trade policy priorities on the Malaysian side. The PCO, as well as import documents from customs authorities in the important part of Malaysia, increased by 1.2% to reach .RM 79.8 billion. In 2016, the EU recorded a larger share of Malaysia`s exports (12.1%), compared with 10.1% in 2015. Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Italy remained Malaysia`s top five export destinations in the region. Fernandez said it would be shameful if the palm oil issue jeopardised Malaysia`s trade relationship with the EU, especially since it accounted for only 4.4% of malaysia`s total trade with the EU, which amounted to .RM 180 billion in 2018.

This is all the more true since the EU has signed free trade agreements with Vietnam, Singapore, Japan and South Korea. The EU was Malaysia`s third largest trading partner in 2016, after China and Singapore. In 2016, trade with the EU increased by 0.4% to reach 149.1 billion .RM. Fernandez stressed that Malaysia`s commitment to the EU has increased somewhat, but much remains to be done. She added that the EU mission was striving to bring other European diplomatic and trade missions to see the reality of the palm oil industry. It explained that 1.4% of the 4.4% share of total EU-Malaysia trade in total palm oil trade for biodiesel is 1.4%, with palm oil imports stable in the EU and increasing in recent years. KUALA LUMPUR: While trade and investment flows between Malaysia and the European Union (EU) have been stable so far, Malaysia`s trade benefits may diminish in the future as negotiations for a free trade agreement with the bloc remain suspended, said Maria Castillo Fernandez, EU ambassador and head of delegation to Malaysia. She stressed that the EU was cooperating with non-governmental ngos in reforestation work, particularly in Sabah. It had also funded the Malaysian Federation of Biomass Industries, which intends to develop the local and regional biomass industry. “We have now found Malaysia a little cautious on trade policy; Before [this] it was very open and secure at the regional level in terms of free trade, open trade and rules-based trade. We are now seeing Malaysia take very cautious measures on trade policy,” Fernandez said in an interview with The Edge Financial Daily. “Brexit is supposed to have little influence on EU-Malaysia trade” Malaysia has already signed and implemented seven bilateral free trade agreements with Japan, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, Chile, Australia and Turkey.

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