KUALA LUMPUR, March 19
(KUNA) — Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries welcomed the launch
of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia within
the year 2009, a Malaysian official said on Thursday.
Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in press statements that this kind
of agreement would open the door to enhance and increase ways of mutual
economic and commercial development.
He said that the GCC states
were listed among the many commercial destinations in the world, noting
that several Malaysian companies and corporations chose to bring their
businesses to that specific region to market their “Halal” products.
The Gulf states are the least affected by world financial crisis, and
have huge financial reserves, the Malaysian minister clarified.
Malaysia will also conduct several FTA negotiations with other
countries, looking for additional commercial allies to sign trade
agreements, in order to attract multi-million dollar ventures, he added.
GCC states are vital commercial partners for Malaysia. Malaysia and the
Gulf states are the main pillars for the Islamic Sukouk (bonds) market,
where the GCC countries account for 55.5 percent and Malaysia for 36.3
percent of the overall bonds issued in US dollars.
exchange between Malaysia and GCC countries is witnessing considerable
development in the past decade. Malaysian exports to the GCC region
include jewelry and electronic products, while oil stands as Malaysia’s
import from the GCC.