Turkey signs FTA with Malaysia, looks to boost trade volume

ISTANBUL (CIHAN)- Turkey and Malaysia signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on Thursday with the goal of boosting bilateral trade to $5 billion by 2018 on the occasion of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s visit to Turkey.

Speaking at a working lunch at the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) building in Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said his country was proud to be signing the FTA with Malaysia. “Doing business more intensively will create a win-win situation and unique opportunities for both the Turkish and Malaysian business worlds,” Babacan said.

Malaysia is Turkey’s third-largest trading partner in Southeast Asia. However, the balance of trade is weighted against Turkey: In 2010, Turkey sent $225 million in exports to the country and imported $1.124 billion.

Stressing that both Turkey and Malaysia are rising economies, Babacan said the FTA will lay the foundation for enhanced trade and investment between the two countries.

Turkey mainly exports defense products, carpets, flooring, machinery, tobacco and food to Malaysia. Turkey’s main imports from Malaysia are animal fats, vegetable oil, electronics, machinery, textiles and clothing. Malaysia’s share of Turkey’s total exports is 0.19 percent, while 0.6 percent of Malaysia’s imports come from Turkey.

The decision to explore the feasibility of a FTA was the result of a series of meetings held between Malaysian and Turkish officials since late 2009. On Aug. 12, 2009, Turkey proposed sending a delegation of Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry for Foreign Trade officials to Malaysia to have exploratory talks on the prospect of an FTA. The two countries commenced talks on a possible FTA in 2010.

(CihanToday’s Zaman)