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S. Korea, Malaysia to resume free trade talks

By Yonhap

Published : March 26, 2024 - 10:37

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Trade Minister Cheong In-kyo (right) speaks during a meeting in Seoul on Wednesday, in this file photo provided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. (Yonhap) Trade Minister Cheong In-kyo (right) speaks during a meeting in Seoul on Wednesday, in this file photo provided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. (Yonhap)

South Korea's trade ministry said Tuesday it has agreed with Malaysia to resume their bilateral free trade agreement talks that have been stalled since 2019.

Trade Minister Cheong In-kyo and his Malaysian counterpart, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, made the announcement during their meeting in Kuala Lumpur, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The two countries agreed to seek a bilateral FTA in 2019 but related negotiations have been stalled after holding three rounds of talks that year.

South Korea and Malaysia also agreed to expand the scope of the envisioned FTA to cover new areas, such as service, investment, digital and biotechnology, the ministry added.

Malaysia is the third-largest trade partner for South Korea in Southeast Asia.

South Korea already has an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, but the country is seeking to broaden economic ties with individual members through separate free trade deals.

"As the two countries hold a mutually beneficial trade portfolio, the FTA will significantly strengthen South Korea's ground for trade and investment in the ASEAN bloc," the ministry said in a statement.

On the margins of the meeting, the two countries agreed to launch a fresh channel of dialogue between trade ministers aimed at fostering bilateral economic cooperation, seeking stronger ties in the supply chain and emerging industries. (Yonhap)